The Indian Air Force (IAF) has expressed concern that major aviation-related defense procurements will be delayed following the sudden death of Arun Kumar Bal, Ministry of Defense chief negotiator for air acquisitions. “It will take around three months for his replacement. This is a setback for anything the IAF is acquiring,” Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne told AIN.
Future of the Indian Air Force
Air India’s seventh GEnx-1B-powered Boeing 787 of the 27 ordered is taking flight at the flying display here at the Paris Air Show. The airline will take delivery of this 787 next month, and a total of eight by the end of this year, five in 2014, six in 2015 and two in 2016. A Qatar Airways 787, which flew at the Farnborough Air Show last year, is also on static display here.
Sukhoi announced this week that the “design and development” (D&D) phase of the Russo-Indian prospective multifunctional fighter (PMF), also known as the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), has been completed. The aircraft is a joint development with India of the T-50 that Sukhoi has already designed and flown for the Russian Air Force. “The airplane has been shaped completely,” the manufacturer stated.
Indian light helicopter requirements remain subject to a bureaucratic procurement process. The program to acquire 197 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters (RSH) is close to being scrapped, but Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has inked a contract for 187 light utility helicopters (LUH). HAL is also proposing the LUH for a new Indian Navy requirement. Meanwhile, HAL continues to develop its light combat helicopter (LCH), which first flew in March 2010.
One of the three PC-7 Mark II trainers that Pilatus has delivered to the Indian air force (IAF) was on display at Aero India. It was assembled at the IAF Academy in Hyderabad, and shown in Pilatus corporate livery with Indian air force insignia.
Pilatus is scheduled to deliver 14 aircraft by June, so that the first squadron can be formed and begin pilot training. All 75 aircraft on order are slated for delivery by the end of 2015. A follow-on order for 37 is expected. The PC-7 Mark II is replacing aging HAL HPT-32 Deepaks, which are suffering from engine and other failures.
Neelam Mathews and Vladimir Karnozov contributed to this report.
Helicopters were much in the news at the Aero India show this week. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) showed the armed version of its advanced light helicopter (ALH) called “Rudra.” The company’s light combat helicopter (LCH) was also on show, and so was an armed Mil-17V5. The Indian Navy’s new multi-role helicopter (MRH) requirement also attracted attention.
Rosoboronexport reported a new Indian order for 12 Mil Mi-17V5 helicopters at the Aero India show this week amid hopes that some 200 of them could eventually be sold to India. To date, Russian Helicopters has delivered 36 of the 80 machines that were ordered in 2008 in a deal worth more than $1.3 billion. Deliveries to the Indian Air Force commenced in 2011. The latest order comprises three in VIP transport configuration, and nine for the Indian Coast Guard.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is poised to take important decisions on new helicopters and refueling aircraft, said Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne in a briefing to mark the service’s 80th anniversary and the release of a new, unclassified doctrine document.
The delay in development of India’s intermediate jet trainer (IJT) by government-owned defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has the Indian air force worried, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N.A.K.Browne told AIN in an exclusive interview. The HAL HJT-36 is intended to replace the aging fleet of Kiran Mk II jet trainers in the Indian Air Force (IAF) by 2015.
An Indian negotiating team is heading for Russia to finalize details of the country’s participation in development of the Sukhoi T-50, also known by the Russian acronym PAK FA and by India as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). India is providing half of the expected $11 billion cost to develop the aircraft, and earlier signed a preliminary design contract worth $295 million.
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