Indian Air Force to Call Off Deal to Procure 20 Hawk Jets

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A defence deal to buy 20 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer planes is likely to be called off by the Air Force. The main reason for scrapping the deal is that the price to buy these advance trainer jets are like to cost more than Rs 2,000 crore, which is beyond the expectations of the defence ministry. The negotiations for the deal have been stuck for almost three years, and now the prices are further hiked by the vendors.

The Air Force is also not showing any interest in upgrading the fleet of over 120 Hawk planes. These planes were inducted into service after a deal with Britain in 2004. The Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) is offering to upgrade the Hawk fleet of the Air Force to Hawk India jets by adding combat capabilities, reported Mail Today, citing government sources.

According to the report, the sources said, “”The benchmark price of each aircraft was around Rs 90 crore but the initial price offered by the vendors including the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was more than double.” They further told Mail Today,  “In the contract negotiations, the vendors have cut down the price but even now, the price offered is more than 60 per cent of what the defence ministry is willing to pay for the planes.”

The government also wants the forces should utilize the budget in the best possible way to enhance its fighting capabilities. According to the sources, the Hawk fighter jets are newly inducted and the last Hawk batch was inducted just three years ago, so there is no need to upgrade the fleet. The Indian Force proposed to buy 20 Hawk planes from a British firm during the UPA government. It wanted to replace the Kiran MK2 with the Hawk Advanced Fighter Jets to be equipped with smoking pots to fly with Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT), reported The Mail Today.

In 2010 the contract for the last batch of 57 planes was done between India and the British firm with the aim to enhance training programmes of the Air Force and the Navy. India had procured the fleet of 66 Hawk jets in 2004.

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