BAE-HAL Sort Out Problems, India To Buy 57 More Hawk AJTs

BAE Systems has not only managed to fend off a low-intensity war with HAL over a host of problems with the Hawk advanced jet trainer license build programme, including a damages claim, but is on the threshold of receiving a fat follow-on order for 57 more Hawks to add to 66 already contracted for. All 57 will be manufactured by HAL in country. With this new development, India's RFI last year for 57 new jet trainers -- sent out when things had really soured between BAE and HAL -- is null and void, and the Hawk prevails after all. As was the plan earlier, 40 of the new order will be for the air force and 17 for the Indian Navy. HAL chairman Ashok Nayak told Hindustan Times correspondent Rahul Singh in Farnborough yesterday, "We have ironed out all niggles with BAE Systems. The deal is going to be signed soon." Just how both sides ironed out those niggles would be supremely interesting.

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