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India dismisses Korea objections in basic trainer deal

India's defence ministry has dismissed objections by Seoul about its basic trainer competition, paving the way for the purchase of the Pilatus PC-7 Mk II aircraft.

"The proposal regarding the selection procedure of the Pilatus trainer aircraft has been progressed in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure," says minister of defence AK Antony in a written response to a query in India's parliament.

"A representation submitted by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), one of the bidders, has been found to be devoid of merit." The KAI KT-1 aircraft was one of the other trainers in the competition.



The deal now awaits final approval by India's Cabinet Committee on Security.

If the package receives final approval, the Indian air force will receive 75 PC-7 Mk IIs in a flyaway condition, with an additional 106 produced under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

The long-delayed procurement will be an important step to filling the air force's yawning capability gap in training. The service's HAL HPT-32 Deepak basic trainers were grounded in July 2009 following a series of crashes.

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