India will buy 194 microlight aircraft from Slovenian Pipistrel light aircraft manufacturer for training, surveillance and high-altitude operations.
The deal is being inked after four years of protracted negotiations with Pipistrel. According to India Strategic, a magazine, these aircraft will be operated by the IAF (72), Indian Navy (12) and the National Cadet Corps (110).
India planned to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for 100 microlight aircraft for the NCC Air Wing Flying Squadrons in July this year. It is not clear as to whether the aircraft is from the same RFP. There are presently 45 Microlight aircraft in 50 Air Squadrons of NCC.
The deal for 194 aircraft is said to be inked shortly. India is possibly buying a variant of Pipistrel's Virus SW 80/100 and will likely designate it as SW-80 Garud.
SW 80/100 uses lightweight composite material and allows a payload of 300 kg. The SW 80/100 is able to operate at all elevations from sea-level up to 15.000 feet with short take-off/landing run.