Looking to acquire 75 basic trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Ministry of Defence has issued a request for proposal (RFP) to a dozen global aircraft manufacturers.

The manufacturers including such global names as Embraer (aircraft name in brackets) (Tucano), Pilatus (PC-7 or PC-/9), Raytheon (T-6 Texan), Finmeccanica (M-311), Grob Aircraft Company (G-120TP), EADS PZL (PZL-130-TC-11 Orik) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KT-1) are required to submit their proposals by March 17.

Officials in the Ministry told The Hindu that a pre-bidders conference would be held on February 2 during which clarifications if any would be entertained. The IAF would technically evaluate the aircraft once the proposals were received.

The move to acquire the trainers comes in the wake of the grounding by the IAF of their 125-strong Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) designed and manufactured ab initio Hindustan Piston Trainer-32 (HPT-32) fleet after one of these aircraft crashed killing two instructors during a flight from the Air Force Academy (AFA) at Dundigal.

As per the RFP the manufacturer will have to deliver the first 12 aircraft within 24 months of the contract. The remaining trainers will follow in batches.

With the IAF looking to keep the chosen trainer in its inventory for at least 30 years the RFP specifies that the aircraft should have been “recently certified.” The 75 aircraft are part of the government’s go-ahead to the IAF for the acquisition of 181 basic trainers.

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