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IAF to build its own trainer aircraft: Air Marshal Kanakaraj


An unrelated photo of the Pilatus PC-21 trainer aircraft.

NAGPUR (PTI): The Indian Air Force is all set to independently manufacture its first aircraft and the task has been entrusted to 11 Base Repair Depot (BRD) of the Head Quarters Maintenance Command (MC) in Nashik, a top IAF official said.

"It will be a trainer aircraft. Though manufacturing of the aircraft is going to take some longer period, the step initiated by the IAF will be a milestone," Air Marshal P Kanakaraj, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, told reporters on the eve of IAF anniversary.

The Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), which was manufacturing the fighter aircraft for armed forces, was overloaded with indent and therefore IAF has decided to go for manufacturing indigenously at its Nashik BRD, Kanakaraj said.

"The IAF has taken a refitting, overhaul and refurbishing on a massive scale and 40 aircraft were assigned to Ukraine and 60 at the BRD at Kanpur. 28 aircraft out of 40 on Ukraine assignment were completely refitted and two are on way of completion. The remaining ten aircraft will also follow," he said.

Air Marshal said that due to the disintegration of the erstwhile USSR, India suffered a lot in the maintenance field.

"Now IAF has gradually overcome the difficulty in procuring the components. We faced problems particularly in Su-30 aircraft repairs as the supply units were spread over Russian blocks," he said.

According to Kanakaraj, the IAF has made a quantum jump in the maintenance of equipment with the signing of e-MMS (electronic maintenance management system) with IT major Wipro at a cost of nearly Rs 950 crore.

The project is expected to be operational by 2015-16 and the Maintenance Command plays a major role in handling the maintenance philosophies of all inventory in the IAF, he said.

Replying to a query, Air Marshal Kanakaraj denied any "direct" involvement of the IAF in anti-Maoist activities in some parts of central India. "We are only in the support system and not directly involved," he added.

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