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Purchase of trainer aircraft deferred, future in limbo

Pilatus tells HAL to negotiate directly with sub-vendors for licences to use & maintain its equipment; also says 'we are working on project diligently to achieve an acceptable outcome for GOI and IAF'

On Saturday, the ministry of defence (MoD) postponed a decision on buying 106 PC-7 Mark II basic trainer aircraft from Swiss vendor, Pilatus, to supplement the fleet of 75 trainers already contracted for Swiss Francs 577 million (Rs 3,727 crore). The defence ministry was not convinced by the Indian Air Force IAF)'s reasons for abandoning a 2009 decision to buy 75 trainers from the international market in the "Buy Global" category; while Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) built 106 in the "Make Indian" category. Now more reasons are emerging for being cautious about ...