IAF Procuring 75 Pilatus Aircraft
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. The decision was taken at a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The aircraft are being procured by the IAF to provide training to its new 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. 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. The Air Force also plans to send some of its young pilots to Switzerland for training till the delivery of initial batch of 12 aircraft commences in 2013.