IAF rejects `extravagant` HAL basic trainer aircraft project
New Delhi: Pushing for the procurement of a foreign basic trainer aircraft for its rookie pilots, IAF on Friday, however, rejected a similar indigenous plane being developed by HAL saying public money cannot be wasted on such "extravagant" projects.
The statement by Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne at the IAF Day press conference comes against the backdrop of a tussle between IAF and the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd over whether to procure an imported basic trainer aircraft or to develop it indigenously.
The IAF is in favour of procuring the imported Pilatus PC-7 basic trainer aircraft while the defence PSU wants to develop the aircraft indigenously.
"IAF is very clear that there has to be only one trainer. We cannot have these extravagant projects. If we have two types of trainers, it costs extra expenditure on infrastructure, training, simulators and maintenance. It is all public money, you cannot waste it on having two to three types of projects," Browne said.
He said IAF`s training module was already set and the force did not want any complications to crop up in it with different sets of aircraft.
Browne said the PSU was not providing the force with what it actually required in the form of the Intermediate Jet Trainer, a decade-old project which is facing delays.
He said that the life of the Kiran Mk II aircraft was three or four more years and its replacement had to be found very soon.
On the strategic reach of IAF, he said that the newly- acquired C-17 heavylift aircraft had delivered cargo in Tajikistan and would soon be flying to Rwanda to provide equipment to Indian Army`s peacekeeping forces in neighbouring Congo.
On Tajikistan, he said IAF maintains a small crew of personnel at Ayni air base in the central Asian country to help it maintain the infrastructure there which was created a few years back by India.
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