India is a large market and we’re looking to expand our operations here in aircraft production, said Jim Roche, deputy CEO of Pilatus Aircraft Ltd

Switzerland’s Pilatus Aircraft Limited plans to set up an airframe manufacturing facility in India for its PC-12 nine-seater passenger and cargo plane, the company’s vice-president and deputy CEO Jim Roche said here on Friday. Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the induction ceremony of Pilatus PC-7 Mk-II into the Indian Air Force (IAF) here, Mr. Roche said the proposed facility would form a major portion of the collaboration with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under the offset provision of the Rs.3,500 crore-contract for supplying 75 PC-7MK-II aircraft.

Only the third such facility

The Indian unit for PC-12 would be the third supporting facility of the company, the other two being in Poland and Portugal, Mr. Roche said.

He said the PC-12 was ideally suited for India, with utility for companies, NGOs, as an air-ambulance and also for evacuation and disaster relief. Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne told reporters that the PC-7 had good safety features and was a modern aircraft.

MMRCA deal by Oct-Nov, says Browne

On a question on new acquisitions, he said that commercial negotiations with EADS were expected to be finalised by the year-end for acquiring flight-refuelling aircraft A-330 MRTT for the IAF.

Negotiations were also expected to be complete on the C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft with Lockheed Martin and the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) by October-November. Another important event for IAF would be the arrival of the first of the 10 C-17 heavy-lift strategic aircraft in June this year.

He said the government had sanctioned 20 Hawk aircraft and the IAF’s aerobatic team Suryakiran would be revived after the acquisition of the aircraft.

Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh said the proposed Defence Procurement Policy-2013 would be a historic step for Indian industry in creating an environment for enhanced defence production.

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