British military firm will pay £6.5 million ($10 million) in damages to India for supplying defective components and fixtures for Hawk Mk-132 advanced jet trainers to state-run . (HAL), which delayed delivery of the aircraft to the (IAF).
Under the original $2 billion contract signed in 2004, 24 of the single-engine aircraft were to be delivered directly by BAE, with the remaining 42 to be assembled by HAL. But HAL faced several difficulties in assembling the AJTs because most of the tools and equipment supplied by the British firm were defective, junior Defense Minister M.M. Pallam Raju says. The resulting delays forced the IAF to keep training pilots on MiG-21 aircraft, which the Hawks were meant to replace. The Hawk was inducted into the IAF in 2008.
India is the third biggest buyer of Hawks after the U.K.and South African air force. The IAF is now eyeing a follow-on order for 40 Hawks; that deal is close to being finalized, according to a defense ministry official.
The Indian navy also plans to procure 17 new Hawks for 30.42 billion rupees ($547 million) as it gears up to induct more aircraft carriers. The naval trainers, which HAL again will build under license from BAE, will be used to train pilots of MiG-29K fighters as well as India’s indigenous naval Light Combat Aircraft, which is still under development.
Hawk trainer photo: BAE