Set back for Make in India initiative after IAF says no to advanced Hawk trainer jets

This could be termed as a setback to Make in India initiative, as the Indian Air force has said ‘no’ to the India-United Kingdom jointly developed upgraded advanced Hawk trainer jets. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in collaboration with BAE systems of United Kingdom jointly developed a combat-ready aircraft, which will be launched in the upcoming 11th edition of Aero India to be held in Bengaluru from February 14. 

Though the advanced dual version of the Hawk trainer jet will make its debut in next week’s air show, but sources in the Indian Airforce claimed that the force has shown no interest in the combat variant of the aircraft. “So far, we have no intentions to place any order for the upgraded version of Hawk trainers,” said a senior IAF officer. IAF operates around 123 Hawk Mk.132 jets that provide Stage-III training before pilots progress to operational fighters like the Mirage 2000, Su-30MKI, MiG-29 or Jaguar.

 India air force and Indian navy are flying Hawk Mk 132 variant for training with over 100,000 flying hours. Besides its main customer i.e IAF, even Navy has also not worked out any plan to place an order for the upgraded combat ready variant of Hawk. Left with no order, it may be manufactured for export to neighbouring countries, according to a HAL source. The Advanced Hawk has been in the works for two years under a unique model with Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and BAE, as both entities signed a Memorandum of Understand in 2015 during the same Aero India show.

 Sources said that the advanced Hawk will reduce training demands on more expensive frontline aircraft, creating additional capacity for operational tasks. Hawk jet with air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, rockets and bombs to transform it into a combat platform. Sources in HAL and BAE Systems revealed that advanced training has several latest features to give the aircraft additional agility, extra power and the ability to carry a range of conventional and precision weapons for an operational role. Stephen Timms, ? Managing Director – Defence Information, Training & Services said “The Advanced Hawk is a testimonial of our commitment to sharing technology, capability and knowledge to build advanced systems in India, for India, and from India. 

Together with HAL, we are looking forward to show this industry-funded demonstrator to the Indian and other Air Forces and seeking their feedback on the combination of features that will better prepare student combat pilots for the demands of frontline aircraft. ”


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