India inducts first batch of British Hawk trainers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 24, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 24, 2008

India inducts first batch of British Hawk trainers

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India yesterday inducted the first batch of British-made Hawk jets to groom rookie pilots and replace its ageing Russian-built MiG 21 fleet, nicknamed "Flying Coffins" due to their high crash record. Indian Defence Minister AK Anthony gave five trainer aircraft to pilots training at Bidar air force base in southern Karnataka state, nearly three decades after the Indian Air Force first called for such aircraft.
The aircraft were among 66 trainer jets ordered by the Indian government in March 2004 from Britain's BAE Systems in the face of stiff competition from France and Russia.
Under the terms of the agreement, 24 Hawk trainers were bought off the shelf, while the other 42 are to be built under licence at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), India's largest aircraft manufacturer in Bangalore.
Anthony said New Delhi would purchase 40 more Hawk trainers worth 50 billion rupees (1.25 billion dollars US) to ready air force and naval personnel, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

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