India seals 700 mn pounds deal for 57 more BAE Hawks

Bangalore, July 28 (IANS) British aerospace major BAE Systems Wednesday sealed a deal with Indian defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for the licensed production of 57 additional Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJTs).

‘The Rs.5,110-crore (pound 700 million) deal is sealed here while a formal agreement will be signed in New Delhi Thursday in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and British Premier David Cameron,’ HAL chairman and managing director Ashok Nayak told IANS.

Of the total deal, 500 million pounds will be for BAE Systems and 200 million pounds for engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce. The deal will support 200 jobs in Britain.

Cameron and British business secretary Vince Cable were present on the occasion when BAE chairman Dick Olver and Rolls-Royce president Dan Korte sealed the deal with Nayak at the latter’s Bangalore complex in the old airport.

‘I am delighted to witness the agreement between HAL, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce. This is an outstanding example of India-UK defence and industrial partnership. The agreement will bring significant economic benefits to both our countries. It is evidence of our new, commercial foreign policy in action,’ Cameron said on the occasion.

The IAF has already inducted 39 of the initial order for 66 Hawks in its training aircraft fleet, including 24 that were bought in fly-away condition and 15 manufactured by HAL under licence production from BAE at its Bangalore complex.

‘Of the 42 jets to be produced by us, we have so far delivered 15 to the IAF, and remaining will be rolled as per the schedule,’ Nayak said.

The IAF has located the Hawk fleet at its Bidar base in northern Karnataka, about 750km from here, to train its rookie pilots for flying the supersonic fighters such as Sukhois, MiGs, Mirages and Jaguars.

The Indian defence acquisition council approved buying the additional 57 Hawks August 14, 2008, including 40 for the IAF and 17 for the Indian Navy.

The value of the first order was about Rs.8,000 crore.

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