DAC to decide on IAF-HAL tussle on trainer aircraft
New Delhi: The Defence Acquisition Council is expected to take a final call on the ongoing tussle between the Air Force and the HAL on whether to procure an imported basic trainer aircraft or to develop it indigenously.
The IAF and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited are locked in a tussle over the issue as the air force is in favour of procuring imported Pilatus PC-7 basic trainer aircraft while the defence PSU wants to develop the aircraft indigenously.
The DAC headed by Defence Minister A K Antony is expected to take a final call on whether to order more Pilatus aircraft from Switzerland or to ask the HAL to go ahead with the indigenous development of its proposed HTT-40 aircraft, sources said.
The meeting is attended by Defence Secretary, the three Services chiefs and other stakeholders while deciding on procurements for the three services.
The IAF has already placed an order for 75 Pilatus trainer aircraft and is planning to procure 106 more after the completion of the delivery of first lot by the end of 2017.
On the other hand, the HAL is in favour of developing the aircraft indigenously.
The Defence Ministry will have to take a call on the issue at a time when in view of the scams in defence hardware acquisitions, it has decided that imports would be the last priority and main focus would be on indigenous production.
The IAF and the HAL have been debating on the issue for over a year now but it came to fore recently when IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne wrote to Antony, asking the government to procure the Pilatus instead of the one proposed by the HAL.
The IAF Chief has also told the government that cost of the HTT-40 aircraft being developed by the HAL would be higher than that of the Pilatus aircraft.
IAF has also told government that the indigenous aircraft would be 25 per cent more expensive than the imported Pilatus.
The HAL has told the government that the aircraft proposed by it would be much more advanced than the Pilatus as it will have weapon firing capabilities also along with other advancements.
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