India IS finalising a deal to buy Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJTs) from BAE Systems, Indian defence minister George Fernandes said this week.
Fernandes told India’s STAR television network: `All technical and other aspects of the AJT purchase have been discussed and negotiations on prices should be finalised soon.’
A BAE spokesman added that `the Indian parliament defence committee has stated that Hawk is the `preferred aircraft’.
Fernandes indicated that India was in the final stages of talks with BAE Systems but did not specify the number of jets that would be bought.
But Indian Air Force sources told local media that the government would initially acquire 30 to 45 Hawk-100 trainers worth £275m. Assembly lines are expected to be set up at the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics in Bangalore, south India to manufacture the Hawks under licence.
The AJT announcement follows repeated accidents with Indian Air Force fighters which have underlined the need for the trainers.
The Hawk-100 faced tough competition from the French Alpha Jet and Russia’s MiG-AT trainer.
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