India clears $600-mn deal for air force trainers
New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) The cabinet Thursday gave the Indian Air Force to buy 75 basic trainer planes from a Swiss firm under a long due deal worth $640 million (Rs.2,900 crore), an official said.
The Cabinet Committee on Security, the country's highest defence and security decision-making body, gave the clearance for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to sign the deal with Swiss manufacturer Pilatus for its PC-7 turbo trainer plane, the official said here.
The defence ministry had cleared the plane as the winner of the contract late last year following a rigourous flight trials.
Pilatus' PC-7 beat Korean Aerospace KT-1 and American Hawker-Beechcraft T-6C Texan-II planes in the contest to win the deal.
The Pilatus planes are to replace IAF's fleet of 125 Hindustan Piston Trainer-32 (HPT-32) planes, along known as Deepak, from the Hindustan Aeronautics limited stable.
India had grounded the fleet of HPT-32 in 2009 following a series of crashes. The plane had persistent fuel supply system problem that could not be sorted out, resulting in 108 engine cuts, claiming the lives of 23 pilots.
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