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Indian Navy holds talks with British firm
Of the three Services, the Indian Navy was the first to use the penalty clause in the agreement when the supply of frigates was delayed by Russian sellers.

The Indian Navy is believed to have opened negotiations with British Aerospace (BaE) for 18 to 22 Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJTs) after the Indian Air Force (IAF) refused to “share” with it the 66 Hawks which the former acquired last year for $ 1.65 billion.

The AJTs are due to join the service in a phased manner from 2008.

Official sources said the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited that was building 42 of the AJTs at Bangalore was also part of the navy’s negotiations for the jet trainers.

The IAF’s remaining 24 Hawks are being constructed at BAE’s Brough facility in the UK. The navy needs the AJTs to train its pilots for the fleet of 20 Russian MiG 29 K fighters, including four trainers that will form air group on INS Vikramaditya, the 44,500-tonne Russian Kiev-class aircraft carrier (formerly Admiral Gorshkov) that is undergoing a refit by SevMash Naval builders for around $ 675 million at Severodvinsk in the White Sea.

Freeze the price

The Indian Navy, that presently trains its pilots on the basic Sea Harrier Mk 60s and Kiran Mk IIs, also plans to acquire an unspecified number of MiG 29 Ks for the 37,500-tonne air defence ship (ADS) it is building indigenously.

Senior navy officials said MiG 29 K makers RSK-MiG had agreed to freeze the price of the fighters for four to five years for the ADS.

Meanwhile, even as USA’s Defence Security Agency (DSA) held discussions with officials from the Indian Navy and the Ministry of Defence last week to lease to the Indian Navy two P 3C Orion maritime reconnaissance aircraft (MRA) that it desperately needs to plug an “operational gap”, the naval headquarters dispatched a request for proposal for the MRAs to Brazil, France, Italy and the United States.

Official sources said the Request For Proposal for providing the navy with 8-12 MRAs had been sent to Brazil’s Embrarer for the P 99, France’s Dassault Aviation for its Falcon 900 DX MPA, Italy’s Alenia Aerospazio’s ATR-72 ASW and Lockheed Martin, makers of the Orion.

Russia ignored

Significantly, the navy is not considering any MRA from traditional weapon platform suppliers, Russia.

This is because over the years it has suffered from deadline slippages in equipment delivery and “poor“ after-sales service.


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Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:37 AM

 

 
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