Indian aviation manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to BAE Systems for the license production of 20 Hawk Mk 132 Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The new jets are meant to replace the HJT-16 Kiran Mk II aircraft of the IAF’s Surya Kiran aerobatics team. The delivery of a 2004 IAF order of 66 Hawk aircraft to the IAF has been recently completed, while a second order for 57 aircraft, with the first 17 going to the Indian Navy, is currently under production. Of the first order, 24 were delivered by BAE Systems, while 42 were license produced by HAL.
The Hawk is also the aircraft operated by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) aerobatics team, the Red Arrows, since 1979. BAE Systems Group MD, Guy Griffiths, said, “This is a tremendous opportunity to build on the success of Hawk in India and demonstrates the progress we are making in capturing significant opportunities to address the defence modernization requirements of the Indian Government. Together with HAL, we look forward to giving the Indian Air Force’s display team a fantastic aircraft.”
A Kiran Mk II of the Indian Navy’s Sagar Pawan aerobatic team crashed at Hyderabad during the Indian Aviation 2010 air show on in March, 2010, killing both crewmembers.
This latest order for 20 aircraft, once concluded, will bring up the number of Hawk aircraft operating worldwide to over 1000. Since the purchase plan is currently at the RFP stage, there is no word yet on the estimated value of the order, once it is signed. But the last order for 57 aircraft in 2010 had a value of around 700 million pounds.
Earlier this year, the IAF placed an order for 75 Pilatus PC-7 Mk II aircraft in an order worth around USD 600 million, after the indigenous HAL HPT-32 basic trainer aircraft of the IAF were grounded following a number of crashes.