India has issued a request for proposals for primary trainer aircraft, an urgent requirement now that the country's fleet of Hindustan Aeronautics HPT-32 Deepaks has been grounded.

The RFP calls for 75 aircraft to be purchased "off-the-shelf" and another 106 to be built by HAL, says the country's defence ministry. The latter will be manufactured under a joint venture arrangement, say industry sources.

India wants to use military procurement to build the country's aircraft manufacturing capability, but the grounding of its remaining piston-engined HPT-32s after a fatal crash on the outskirts of Medak in Andhra Pradesh state last July has made the air force primary trainer requirement more immediate.

 HPT-32 - Indian air force
© Indian air force

The defence ministry says HAL has been ordered to modify aircraft in the interests of safety. In the meantime, the Indian air force is relying on surplus HJT-16 Kiran Mk1/1A jet trainers to provide stage one and two training.

The primary trainer RFP is the latest in a series of requests that India has issued as part of efforts to modernise its military. It is also seeking to buy 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft, plus light utility and light attack helicopters, jet trainers and naval fighters.

India's air force has a high volume of Russian- and Ukrainian-provided equipment, but in more recent times it has shifted towards ordering Western kit.

Source: Flight International