Twenty-six years after identifying a requirement for a replacement advanced jet trainer, the Indian ministry of defence finally signed a contract for 66 BAE Systems Hawk 132Yaircraft on 26 March.

To be delivered from 2007, India's first 24 aircraft will be manufactured at BAE's Brough site in the UK, with the remainder to be produced by India's Hindustan Aeronautics. The aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour 871 engines.

Under the terms of the Indian Hawk contract, BAE Systems' Customer Solutions & Support business unit will also broker the instruction of 75 Indian air force pilots in the UK. To be fulfilled over a three and a half year period from mid-2004, the training activities are expected to take place from RAF Valley in Anglesey. BAE had been discussing the possible Hawk sale with the Indian authorities since 1986.

Source: Flight International