Clearing speculations over the delay in purchasing 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), Chief of Air Staff and Air Chief Marshal N.A.K Browne on Saturday said the Indian Air Force was committed to inducting MMRCA into its fleet.
“It’s a big project. Presently discussions are on and the contract could be signed by this year end,” Air Chief Marshal Browne told reporters at the Air Force Academy at Dundigal in Hyderabad.
The IAF is planning to buy 18 MMRCA from France. “Once a contract is signed, it takes nearly three years for manufacturers to deliver the aircraft, he explained. While, 18 MMRCA would be delivered directly, rest of them would be developed in association with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). In another three to five years, these aircraft would be part of IAF,” he said.
In addition to this, IAF was also planning to introduce Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) into its service. “Recently, the weapon trial run of these aircraft was conducted at a desert and we are awaiting operational clearance from the government. We hope to get it by this year-end,” he disclosed. As part of improving its infrastructure, IAF was also planning to buy 40 more Hawk aircraft next year. Presently there are 66 Hawk aircraft at Bidar station. To improve the quality of training being imparted to cadets, the IAF was also planning to procure five more Su-30 aircraft simulators. The IAF has three such simulators now.
“We have made it a policy to get simulators of all the new aircraft, including PC-7 trainers that would be inducted. Cadets would be trained for about 25 hours on these simulators as part of their total training,” he said.