Fulfilling Air Force’s long-pending requirement, government cleared a proposal worth over Rs. 1,800 crore for procuring 75 Pilatus aircraft from Switzerland to train its rookie pilots.
Government has approved the deal to procure 75 Pilatus Basic Trainer Aircraft for IAF.
The aircraft are being procured by the IAF to provide training to its rookie pilots and replace the HPT-32 trainer aircraft which have been grounded for over two years after a fatal accident in 2009, Defence Ministry officials said.
The delivery of the planes is expected to begin by the middle of 2013.
The deal is critical for IAF’s training requirements as in the next two years, there will be a shortage of Kiran Mk II trainer aircraft which are being used to impart flying lessons to the new trainee cadets in the flying branch of the IAF.
Since 2009, the IAF has relied on Kiran Mk II aircraft for providing basic training to its young pilots. Advanced training to them is provided on the Hawk aircraft procured from the UK.
As the turboprop low-wing tandem-seat aircraft, Pilatus is capable of providing all basic training functions, including aerobatics, instrument, tactical and night flying.