India’s defence ministry is considering the acquisition of an additional batch of BAE Systems Hawk advanced jet trainers.
New Delhi indicates it could purchase as many as 30 examples of the Mk132 variant, which would be licence-built by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL).
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar says the requirement, chiefly for the navy, is still to be fully defined. “We are negotiating for the price and once the price negotiations are over we can announce the final numbers.”
The proposed purchase is in addition to a previously announced need for 20 aircraft to be operated by the air force’s Surya Kiran aerobatic display team. That deal has yet to be concluded, however.
Parrikar also confirms the cancellation of a 2014 request for information for intermediate jet trainers, despite continued delays to its indigenous HAL HJT-36 Sitara programme.
However, he says that production of the HJT-36 has been halted to resolve issues with the type. “The HJT-36 has a lot of the stall-related problems that have been overcome. Spin remains a problem, we will not make any more IJTs until they overcome this problem.”
It is estimated that only six early production examples have been built.
The air force had sought to acquire an imported type after repeated delays and difficulties with the Sitara. Its original schedule called for 73 production aircraft to have been delivered to the service from 2013-2017.