In­dia and the

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation Defence & Inindia -

The In­dian Air Force’s re­quire­ment for an ad­vanced jet trainer (AJT) had its ge­n­e­sis in the La Fon­taine Com­mit­tee dur­ing the mid-1980s which urged the se­lec­tion and in­duc­tion of a suit­able Stage III or lead in fighter trainer to bridge the gap in fly­ing train­ing be­tween the be­nign HAL Ki­ran ba­sic jet trainer and front­line op­er­a­tional fight­ers. Af­ter phase out of the HAL-built de Hav­il­land Vam­pire T.55s which had served well in this role, the IAF per­force sent its young pi­lots straight from the Stage II Ki­rans to Mach 2 fight­ers, such ‘frac­ture’ in the train­ing process be­ing re­garded as a se­ri­ous de­fi­ciency. In the event, it took a tor­tur­ous two decades to for­malise the con­tract for BAE Hawk ad­vanced jet train­ers, the type hav­ing been se­lected af­ter ex­haus­tive eval­u­a­tion, flight tri­als and in­dus­trial–com­mer­cial ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Fi­nally, on 3 Septem­ber 2003, the Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee for Se­cu­rity (CCS) cleared ac­qui­si­tion of 66 Hawk AJTs for the In­dian Air Force, 24 of them to be pro­cured from BAE Sys­tems in fly­away con­di­tion, the re­main­ing 42 air­craft pro­duced in In­dia by Hin­dus­tan Aeronautics Lim­ited un­der li­cence.

The Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MOU) be­tween the Gov­ern­ments of In­dia and the UK was signed at South Block in New Delhi on 19 March 2004 “for the ef­fec­tive and un­in­ter­rupted im­ple­men­ta­tion of the con­tracts re­gard­ing ac­qui­si­tion of 66 Hawk Ad­vance Jet Train­ers ( AJTs) from BAE Sys­tems and other equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers of UK.” In­dian De­fence Sec­re­tary Ajay Prasad signed the MOU on be­half of the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia while the Bri­tish High Com­mis­sioner in In­dia Sir Michael Arthur signed on be­half of the UK Gov­ern­ment, cover­ing “full sup­port and co­op­er­a­tion for the sup­ply as well as li­cence pro­duc­tion of Hawk AJT for IAF from BAE Sys­tems and other as­so­ci­ated equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers of the UK”, as also fa­cil­i­tat­ing agree­ments con­cern­ing li­cence pro­duc­tion of the prod­ucts and as­so­ci­ated equip­ment and weapon sys­tems for the Hawk of UK ori­gin.

In April 2004, a De­fence Con­sul­ta­tive Group was es­tab­lished to mon­i­tor of trans­fer of tech­nolo­gies for the Hawk and in­dica­tive of the speed with which the pro­gramme un­folded, the first batch of IAF pi­lots se­lected for the new fly­ing

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