The contenders — Grob’s G-120 TP, Embraer’s EMB-312 Super Tucano, Korea Aerospace Industries’ KT-1, Finmeccanica’s M-311 and Pilatus’ PC-7 — emerged following a request for proposals issued in early 2010. The deal is estimated to cost $1 billion.
“The flight trials [of the competitors] have been completed and we are assessing the evaluation made by the Indian air force,” an Indian defense ministry official says. “We expect to award a contract in the third quarter of 2011 and the [deliveries] are expected to commence some time [in] 2012.”
India is seeking to procure 75 aircraft off the shelf, with 106 to be built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) under a joint venture agreement.
The selected manufacturer will be required to deliver an initial batch of 12 aircraft within two years of signing the contract. The project is aimed at replacing HAL’s HPT-32 Deepak aircraft, which were grounded following several crashes due to technical glitches.
“We are in urgent need of trainer jets for our pilots,” the official says. The air force has been without a basic trainer jet since July 2009.
India’s arms build-up has been hampered by a series of delayed or canceled deals. Analysts say that a delay in awarding the contract for basic trainers could deflate profits for both the bidders as well as the prime domestic recipients of offset work.
Under defense ministry procurement procedures, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that win Indian contracts must support the Indian industrial base by purchasing defense goods and services locally, as well as other direct and indirect investments in defense manufacturing and R&D infrastructure. Offset levels begin at 30% of the contract value and may be higher in certain cases.
The addition of Hawk 132 Advanced Jet Trainers and Intermediate Jet Trainers also is part of the air force’s flight training modernization. Last July, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce signed an agreement valued at ₤700 million ($1.1 billion) to supply Hawk trainers to India.
The deal for 57 aircraft was signed with HAL at the company’s headquarters in Bengaluru during the visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron. The order is valued at more than ₤500 million for BAE and as much as ₤200 million for Rolls-Royce.
An earlier order for 66 BAE trainers took two decades to negotiate and was hampered by a lack of parts. The deal was finally signed in 2004, and 24 of these airplanes were completed in December 2009. Of the remaining 42 to be built by HAL, 10 have been delivered, and the entire batch is expected to be completed by 2012.