A follow-on order of 38 Pilatus PC 7 Mk II aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) is increasingly getting mired in controversy as veteran air force officers say that it has features, for example, an ejection seat which is not necessary in a basic trainer.
The order has already been put on hold by the finance minister as it has found the Life Cycle Cost (LCC) of the aircraft is higher than the unit price that was quoted earlier.
Former senior officers of the air force say that basic trainers are of such type that can glide and land even on a grass field in case of an emergency, including an engine failure.
The Pilatus PC 7, a Swiss manufacture, was chosen by the air force because the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) failed to develop their own proposed basic trainer.
IAF wanted to buy 181 aircrafts to meet its requirements. But the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) of the ministry headed by the Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar had allowed the purchase of 75 with 38 to be bought later.
Pilatus PC 7 is with a Pratt & Whitney engines and has top speed of 270 knots. It’s a two seater aircraft for the trainee and the trainer.