BAE gets 500 mn pound order for Hawk jets for Indian forces

Bangalore, July 28 (IANS) In a move underlining the importance of BAE Systems’ presence in India, the company has secured a new order, worth over 500 million pounds, with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for an additional 57 Hawk advanced jet trainer (AJT) aircraft to be built under licence in India.

Of these, 40 are for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and 17 for the Indian Navy.

The final terms and conditions for the contract were signed by Guy Griffiths, group managing director (International) BAE Systems, and BAE Systems’ chairman Dick Olver in the presence of British Prime Minister David Cameron on his historic visit to India.

This builds on a previous order for 66 Hawk’s that HAL is progressively delivering to the IAF. The additional aircraft will be built over a six year period.

‘The aircraft will be manufactured under licence at HAL’s facilities in Bangalore and BAE Systems will provide specialist engineering services, the raw materials and equipment necessary for airframe production and the support package for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy end users,’ a company statement said.

Commenting on the news order, BAE Systems India managing director and chief executive officer Andrew Gallagher said: ‘HAL is the premier aerospace company in India and BAE Systems is proud to be able to build on its long-standing relationship with HAL to deliver a further batch of this excellent aircraft to increase the Indian Air Force’s fast jet training capacity and establish a similar fast jet training solution for the Indian Navy.’

‘The Hawk AJT fast jet training solution enables an air force or navy to provide frontline pilots for even the most modern fighter aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon or Sukhoi SU-30,’ Gallagher added.

Griffiths added: ‘This new order continues and strengthens the long standing relationship between BAE Systems and HAL. It highlights the importance of BAE Systems’ strategic development of India as a home market, and the benefit of solid government support.’

According to a company statement, BAE Systems is committed to the development of a long-term sustainable domestic business in India, not just in manufacturing, but in design, development, systems integration, testing and support.

‘The company firmly supports the government of India’s objective of procuring 70 percent of defence equipment domestically. The further development of its long standing relationship with HAL, and the establishment of Defence Land Systems India are real examples of the company’s determination to take active steps to demonstrate its support for the government of India and India’s defence services,’ the statement added.

With 18 customers, the Hawk has been widely exported around the world. Customers include Australia, Canada, South Africa, Bahrain, apart from India and the Royal Air Force.

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