Pilatus has signed a contract with India for 75 PC-7 MkII basic trainers in a deal worth more than Swiss francs 500 million ($523 million).

Delivery of the aircraft and training system is to commence in the fourth quarter of 2012, the airframer says, with its award also including ground-based training equipment and logistics support.

"The contract also contains an option clause for extending the scope of this contract within three years from initial signature, and we are optimistic that this will indeed be executed," says Pilatus.

Pilatus PC-7


The confirmation is not unexpected. Earlier this month, widespread media reports in India indicated that New Delhi's Cabinet Committee on Security had approved the deal.

The news will be welcomed by the Indian air force, which suffers a major shortage of training aircraft. Given the size of the purchase, the tender had attracted a number of other bidders, including the Airbus Military-promoted PZL-130 Orlik, Alenia Aermacchi M-311, Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, Grob G120TP, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KT-1 and Raytheon's T-6 Texan II. KAI mounted an unsuccessful protest into the selection of the Swiss type.

Last year, an industry source familiar with the competition told Flightglobal that Pilatus had surprised its rivals by pitching the PC-7 MkII, which is a less advanced and less expensive basic trainer than its latest PC-21.

"The decision to select the PC-7 MkII training system was made after a thorough evaluation by the Indian air force, which looked at all available options," says Pilatus. "Pilatus views this contract as a major success and believes it will encourage other forces to take a close look at our pilot training solution."

Pilatus PC-7,


Pilatus will establish in-country depot-level maintenance for the PC-7 MkII, which will include technology transfer to India's state-owned airframer Hindustan Aeronautics. This will allow for in-country maintenance of the type for 30 years.

The company has also signed a separate offset contract with New Delhi worth 30% of the total contract value.

"Pilatus has significant confidence in the Indian defence market with its highly skilled workforce, and it is our intention to leverage the offset opportunity to establish manufacturing capability for the region in support of our business plans for India," the company says.

Source: Flight International