FARNBOROUGH AND NEW DELHI
— The planned visit next week to India of British Prime Minister David Cameron likely will coincide with the announcement of a deal for a further 57 BAE Systems Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft.
The state visit will see Cameron meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The U.K.’s recently-elected Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition government has already identified India as a nation with which it wants to build a strategic relationship.
The coalition is also upping support for defense export efforts, in part to soften the blow of anticipated spending cuts resulting from London’s ongoing defense review.
India ordered 66 Hawk Mk132s in 2004, with a follow-on batch anticipated.However, during the course of 2009 it also looked at possible alternatives to additional Hawks.
It is anticipated that 40 of the follow-on orders will be for the air force and 17 for the navy.
M.M. Pallam Raju, Minister of State for Defense, told the Press Trust of India that the contract’s details and the deal’s terms of reference are now being negotiated with London. Raju is leading the Indian delegation at the Farnborough International Airshow.
In-country final assembly of 42 of the first batch of 66 Hawks has progressed at a slower pace that planned, causing some tension. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd is carrying out final assembly of the aircraft.
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