The first of the 75 Swiss Pilatus trainer aircraft procured by the IAF under a Rs 2,800 crore deal to train its rookie pilots today landed at Jamnagar in Gujarat.
The fleet of 75 aircraft will help in replacing the fleet of HPT-32 basic trainers which were grounded after a fatal crash in 2009, senior IAF officials said here today. The Pilatus plane flew in from the firm's headquarters in Stans in Switzerland for its maiden flight.
Government of India had signed a contract with the Swiss firm in May last year after the approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS).
In view of the urgent need of the IAF to train its pilots, the Swiss firm had assured the force that it will start the delivery of the aircraft by the last quarter of 2012.
The IAF is procuring the aircraft together with an integrated ground based training system and a comprehensive logistics support package.
The IAF is also planning to seek more Pilatus trainer aircraft from the Swiss firm which could see another 100 aircraft being procured from there.
According to the contract, Pilatus will also do a transfer of technology to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for maintenance of the fleet for the next 30 years.
Pilatus will also do offsets to the tune of 30 per cent of the deal which would be close to around Rs 800 crore.
The Economic Times