Wednesday, December 15, 2010

BAE, HAL Mull Future Of Hawk Trainer Partnership

Aerospace Daily & Defense Report Dec 15 , 2010 , p. 08
Neelam Mathews

BENGALURU, India — India’s largest defense manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), is in talks with the U.K.’s BAE Systems on various projects related to Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers.

HAL is currently licensed by BAE to produce the Hawk in India for the Indian military.

Possible future projects include establishing a maintenance, repair and overhaul base for Hawks worldwide, building a worldwide supply chain and making India the center for exporting the Hawk in the long term, Aviation Week has learned.

The final decision on what direction the partnership will take will depend on cost and both companies’ desire to kick-start the project.

Opportunities are opening up for BAE as it expands its installed base for Hawks in India. In February 2003, India signed a $1.7-billion contract with BAE to supply 66 Hawk trainer jets. In July, the company was awarded a $780-million contract for 57 Hawks, 17 of which are for the Indian navy and the rest for the Indian air force. A contract clause is related to “the future of Hawks” in India, Aviation Week has learned.

Under the deal with BAE Systems, the Advanced Jet Trainers are manufactured under license by HAL at its Bengaluru facility, with BAE providing the necessary specialist engineering services, raw materials, airframe production equipment and support package.

“We have given a permanent license to HAL to build the Hawk,” says Andrew Gallagher, managing director and CEO of BAE Systems India.

“This statement makes it clear that India has access to the technology. It’s now a question of how they want to move forward,” an Indian defense official says.

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