Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bangalore: This year's Aero India show will be the largest ever with 592 companies from 25 countries showcasing their latest products, but a series of delays, production hitches and an air crash have hit the Indian participation at the prestigious military air exposition. While no new Indian products will be on display, even older "in development" products will give the air show a miss.
For starters, the indigenous effort to develop an Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) by HAL received a jolt just days before the air show. One of the two flying prototypes of the aircraft crashlanded on the runway after a routine test flight, writing it off for the Aero India show. The project, which has been delayed for close to five years already, also had a similar spell of bad luck at the last air show in 2007 when the other flying prototype crashed during take-off in full view of the participants.
Defence Production Secretary Pradeep Kumar admitted that while HAL was planning to bring in the trainer for a demo flight, it was called off after more tests were required for the aircraft.
Another aircraft to be put up by HAL will be the 'indigenously manufactured' Hawk trainer for the Indian Air Force. While an 'indigenous' Hawk will be on display at HAL's pavilion, the trainer has been dogged by a serious delay over the past few months with problems of delivery of spare parts from the UK-based BAE company. Sources say BAE is holding up supplies of certain components which has delayed the aircraft production at the Indian facility. While the UK-manufactured trainers have already come in, the lack of parts means that IAF has to do without the optimum number of trainers required.
As highlighted by The Indian Express, the trainer had been hit by a series of quality problems after it was inducted at the Bidar air base, prompting the IAF to take up the issue with BAE.
10/02/09 Manu Pubby/Indian Express

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