Indo-UK New Hawk Looks to Take on China

Com­bat ready air­craft to de­but by mth-end but neigh­bours are al­ready in­ter­ested

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: In­dia and the United King­dom have jointly de­vel­oped a com­bat ready air­craft that will be on of­fer to neigh­bour­ing count r i e s , c o u n t e r i n g g r o wi n g Chi­nese pen­e­tra­tion of the de­fence mar­ket in the re­gion.

A jointly de­vel­oped, dual role ver­sion of the Hawk trainer air­craft will make its de­but later this month, with an Indo-UK com­bine tar­get­ing ex­port mar­kets for the ver­sa­tile plane. The Ad­vanced Hawk has been in the works for two years un­der a unique model with Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics (HAL) and BAE pool­ing re­sources to de­velop a faster, more ag­ile Hawk that can also carry smart weapons.

The air­craft, which is cur­rently be­ing as­sem­bled in Ben­galuru for the AeroIn­dia show next week, has sev­eral new fea­tures in­clud­ing a new wing de­sign by HAL that gives the plane more agility, ex­tra power and the abil­ity to carry a range of con­ven­tional and pre­ci­sion weapons for an op­er­a­tional role.

HAL said there is al­ready con­sid­er­able in­ter­est for the air­craft that will un­der­take its first flight in March. “We have had good in­ter­est for the air­craft. There have been a few vis­its by our neigh­bour­ing air chiefs who have shown in­ter­est,” HAL chair­per­son T Su­varna Raju told ET. BAE, which man­u­fac­tures the plane and has ex­ported it across the world, be­lieves that the Ad­vanced Hawk will be in de­mand with sev­eral air forces that are ac­quir­ing ad­vanced fighter jets. The com­pany es­ti­mates that there is a re­quire­ment of over such 300 train­ers world­wide that will be tar­geted with the new prod­uct.

The air­craft is also be­ing show­cased as a force mul­ti­plier for any air force due to its abil­ity to carry a range of weapons and a laser des­ig­na­tion pod. “The Ad­vanced Hawk can carry a pay­load of 3,000 kg mounted across seven sta­tions. It is ready to play the role as a force mul­ti­plier in com­bat op­er­a­tions,” said Dave Cor­field who heads Hawk In­dia.

While the air­craft is ex­pected to gen­er­ate in­ter­est at the air show, the pro­gramme will be taken for-

The Hawk was de­vel­oped un­der a unique model with HAL & BAE pool­ing re­sources

ward af­ter feed­back from the po­ten­tial cus­tomers, of­fi­cials said. A com­mer­cial case is yet to be drawn but the broad plan is to have an equal part­ner­ship be­tween HAL and BAE for the ex­port mar­ket. The two com­pa­nies have till now con­trib­uted in­ter­nal re­sources to build two pro­to­types of the air­craft. The Hawk has been a suc­cess story in In­dia with 123 air­craft fly­ing with the air force and Navy. HAL, which builds the air­craft un­der li­cense, is rolling out its 100th Hawk this month. While ex­ports will need to have clear­ances by both gov­ern­ments, sources said that the progress of the joint project is be­ing reg­u­larly shared at high lev­els.

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