Modi visits England, Hawk trainers and EJ 200 Engines in wishlist
Prime minister Modi all set to visit England to boost military and civil cooperation between New Delhi and London. During the visit PM Modi inks contracts with BAE systems for additional Hawk advanced trainers and modifying existing HAL build Hawks to carry weapons. Modi accompanied by HAL and Air force officials to discuss about the possibility of EJ 200 Turbofan Engine sale and requesting UK's help to design the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.
The Indian air force operates more than sixty advanced hawk trainer with an additional fifty on orders. India operates most advanced version of hawk trainers named 132. First batch of twenty four Hawk trainers directly delivered from England. While all others will be produced in HAL,India under Transfer of Technology. HAL delivering twelve Hawk trainers to IAF every year.
Indian Navy also operates the Hawk trainer for advanced jet training purpose to train Naval air arm pilots to fly in the MiG 29 K fighters. Navy currently operates eight hawk's and another nine in orders. These too built by HAL. Navy also plans to increase the Hawk fleet numbers to thirty to meet their operational requirements.
Most of the Advanced jet trainers comes with light attack capability like Russian YAK 130 and Italy's M 346. All of them capable of guided missile firing capability and precision bombing capabilities. The same goes to Hawk too, However UK banned others to modify the Hawk to carry weapons. While BAE offered modified variant of BAE Hawk named Hawk 200 for light combat support. This has no training options but a pure attack aircraft.
Nations like Oman Saudi and Indonesia operating Hawk 200 for light attack missions. However they can't be used for jet training purpose. Modifying the Hawk trainers to carry IR guided missiles and laser guided bomb is the Indian Air force's option to modernize the Hawks into armed Hawk.
Earlier this year during Aero India, HAL officials proposed the BAE officials for the modernizing options and it's reported that, BAE almost agreed the HAL's proposal and formally agrees HAL's modification works on Hawk trainers to carry missiles and bombs.
Arming the Hawk only needed some mission computers, IFF Responders and IRST dome for target acquisition and guidance. This allows Hawk can fire UK based ASRAAM infrared guided missiles for combat air patrol missions and self defense, and can carry laser guided munitions for close air support. This will makes the hawk becomes good close air support aircraft, and can perform well as a counter insurgency aircraft.
The IAF officials also hold talks with Euro jet officials to modify the EJ 200 Engines jointly to power the AMCA. India yet to select the engines for AMCA which is still on design phase, IAF and HAL looking for foreign support to develop a engine to meet AMCA's require power and thrust. EJ 200 once bid with GE F 414 to supply engines to HAL Tejas. However it's lost when GE announced as a lowest bidder.
HAL officials also visit BAE Systems to help designing the AMCA, as earlier Defense minister quoted that "it's required foreign help to design the AMCA". US, France and England shown interests in designing the AMCA. If IAF selects the EJ 200 engines to power AMCA. It's quite clear England will assist HAL to design and materialize the AMCA.
|BAE Archer 155mm mounted gun|
Also many reports suggests that India and UK will sign deals for more than $12 billions. However the details of the contracts still unknown. It's quite clear even if more civil deals signed Military also gets billions of amount for shopping.
Some sources quoted that, India may selects the BAE systems Archer for long delayed 155mm wheeled self propelled gun tender. under this tender India plans to buy nearly five hundred such platforms under Make in India project.