BAE clinches 779 million dollar order for Hawk trainers
BAE Systems signed Wednesday a 500-million-pound (779 million dollar) deal to supply 57 Hawk trainer jets to India's military, boosting its presence in the vast Indian defence market.
The contract was signed with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) at the state-run defence unit's headquarters in the southern city of Bangalore in the presence of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
India had ordered 66 Hawk jets from BAE in 2004 and Wednesday's follow-up deal was the pick of a raft of bilateral trade agreements to be signed during Cameron's visit.
The accord for the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) "highlights the importance of BAE Systems' strategic development of India as a home market," said Guy Griffiths, London-based BAE's international group managing director.
Rolls-Royce announced separately it had finalised a 200-million-pound contract to supply Adour engines for the aircraft that India plans to use to train its pilots for flying supersonic combat jets.
Hindustan Aeronautics and Rolls-Royce, whose engineering cooperation relationship dates back to 1956, will co-produce the engines.
"This follow-on order for the Adour engine is a huge vote of confidence," said Chris Awde, Rolls-Royce defence sales and commercial director.
The Hawk AJT allows the military to provide pilots for the most modern fighter aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon or Sukhoi SU-30.
All 57 aircraft will be assembled locally with Hindustan Aeronautics from raw materials supplied by BAE.
The aircraft will be made under licence at HAL's plant in Bangalore and BAE Systems will provide specialist engineering services, the raw materials and equipment for production of the airframe.
India is seeking to sharply increase the domestic production content of its military hardware.
Indian pilots will use the Hawks to train for the Indian military's Russian fighter planes, along with a planned 126 combat planes that New Delhi aims to purchase abroad.
© 2010 AFP