India signs $640-mn deal for 75 Pilatus trainers
New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) India Thursday signed a $640 million (Rs.2,900 crore) deal with Swiss firm Pilatus to buy 75 basic trainers for the Indian Air Force (IAF), an official said.
The Cabinet Committee on Security, the country's highest defence and security decision-making body, had earlier deal with Pilatus for its PC-7 turbo-trainer, he said.
The defence ministry had late last year declared the the winner of the contract following rigourous flight trials.
The Pilatus PC-7 beat the Korean Aerospace KT-1 and the American Hawker-Beechcraft T-6C Texan-II planes in the contest to win the deal.
The Pilatus planes will 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 HPT-32 fleet 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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