India is likely to place an order for Hawk advanced jet trainers under a Rs.3,500-crore ($527.1 million) deal to meet requirements of the Air Force and Navy.
The new deal for 32 jet trainers will add to the 123 aircraft already ordered for the Indian armed forces, The Economic Times reported Thursday.
The Hawk deal, which had remained pending for several months on pricing issues, is now heading forward with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, The Indian Defense ministry officials said. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) license manufactures BAE's Hawk 132.
Hawk aircraft are the primary advanced trainers for combat pilots in India and have been used extensively due to a deficiency of intermediate jet trainers.
While the Navy has a requirement of at least eight more Hawks to train fighter pilots for the MiG 29K fleet, the Air Force requires additional planes for its Suryakiran aerobatic team that has been reconstituted after a long break.
The new order would keep HAL's Hawk line running for a few more years. An eight-point upgrade of the trainers is being planned with assistance from its original manufacturer BAE to make then capable of training operations for new generation fighters.
HAL is the largest producer of the Hawk outside of the UK and also has export plans in the future for a weaponised version of the aircraft.
An Indian-made combat version of the Hawk aircraft could be displayed at the Aero India show in February 2017 for demonstration, officials said.
The Combat Hawk, for which interest has been shown by potential clients to undertake light attack missions, is currently under development jointly with BAE.
HAL is eyeing to integrate a new engine, weapon systems and radar to the trainer.
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