An IAF BAE Systems Hawk 132
India signed a $1.75 billion contract for the delivery of 66 BAE Systems HAWK Mk132s under the AJT (Advanced Jet Trainer) program in March 2004, after two decades of negotiations.
Under the deal, 24 aircraft were delivered directly from the UK, with 42 to be license-manufactured in India by HAL by March 2011 from semi and completely knocked down kits - progressively using indigenous components.
India signed a Rs. 9,500 crore contract for purchase of an additional 57 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer Aircraft from British Aerospace Systems (BAE) on July 27, 2010, during the visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron to the country.
Of these, 40 are for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and 17 are for the Indian Navy (IN). M/s HAL manufactures these aircraft under license from M/s BAE Systems.
The Hawks are to be manufactured by HAL which will assemble the engines for the aircraft from components supplied by Rolls-Royce.
The delivery of these aircraft will commence from 2013 and is expected to be completed by 2016.
In October 2011 it was reported that IAF will place an addition 21 aircraft order on HAL for its Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT), bringing the total order number to 144.
HAL chief, Ashok Nayak told Business Standard, "The IAF has initiated the follow-on procurement of 21 additional Hawks from BAE Systems. These are mainly for its aerobatics team, but also to replace the couple of Hawks that have been lost in crashes."
The IAF wants the SKAT to be flying Hawks within three years and HAL is ramping up production plans to meet the target
"Next year we will build 13-14 Hawks; and then step up production to 19 Hawks from 2013 onwards. That means 57 Hawks will be delivered by late 2015. Then we can build 21 more Hawks by the end of 2016,” says Nayak.
The TOI reported on November 29, 2011 that the Defense Acquisitions Council (DAC), chaired by defence minister A K Antony, cleared the purchase of 20 Hawks for the SKAT at a cost of around Rs 3,600 crore.
Hawk-AJT at Aero India 2009 in Bengalure. Photo Copyright © Vijainder K Thakur
On September 14, 2012, BAE Systems announced that it had received of a RFP for an additional batch of 20 Hawks, in addition to two earlier orders for a combined 123 jets.
Induction of Hawk AJTs has fallen behind schedule and the fleet at AFS Bidar is plagued with maintenance woes. As a result, IAF is forced to continue with its old workhorse advanced stage trainer - Kiran Mk 2.
IAF and HAL officials attribute the poor serviceability of the aircraft to BAE Systems' inability to 'tropicalise' the aircraft. Bidar tends to be hot and dry in summer.
HAL says it's unable to ramp up production of the aircraft because the jigs and fixtures supplied by BAE Systems correspond to the standard Hawk trainer, not the custom Mk. 132 version ordered by the IAF. The mismatch between the drawings for the Mk.132 and the actual jigs and tooling forces HAL to hand craft the modifications causing the delay.
According to a government press release, liquidated damages were levied on BAE for the supply of defective components, jigs and fixtures.
Hawk-AJT at Aero India 2011 in Bengaluru. Photo Copyright © Vijainder K Thakur
In a written statement to parliament on April 22, 2010, Minister of State for Defense Shri MM Pallam Raju said:
Delivery of 42 (Hawk-AJT) aircraft was scheduled from 2007-2008 to 2010 – 2011 in a phased manner. Three aircraft were to be built from semi-knocked down (SKD) kits, three from completely knocked down (CKD) kits and 36 from raw material phase. The CKD and SKD kits were assembled on schedule. When production in raw material phase was taken up, it was found that the equipment supplied by the OEM had various shortcomings. The assembly jigs that were supplied did not meet the requirements, there was mismatch in the kits/components supplied, there were defects in major assemblies like the wing spar etc. These problems took time to overcome and hence affected the production schedule at HAL.
HAL delivered three aircraft in the year 2008-2009 and nine in the year 2009-2010, including the first aircraft from raw material phase.
A government press release issued on August 16, 2010 said 10 out of 42 aircraft contract with HAL have been delivered till date.
By July 2011, HAL had delivered 28 out of 42 aircraft contracted. [ via PIB press release].
The Air Force is not facing any acute shortage of trained pilots and the delay in delivery schedule of AJTs by HAL is not affecting the Air Force. Indian Air Force is meeting its requirement by utilizing the existing resources for training of pilots.
In December 2011 Flight Magazine reported that BAE Systems had signed a £59 million ($92.2 million) deal with India to provide spares and ground training equipment related to the nation's Hawk advanced jet trainers.
"The Indian air force has one of the largest fleets of Hawks anywhere in the world, and this contract is vital to ensure the continued availability of the fleet," said Guy Griffiths, BAE's group managing director, international.