Indian Deal Biggest Ever For Pilatus

┬ęPhoto / Martin Ombrelle
At $523-million, the Indian contract for 75 PC-7 Mk.2 propeller trainers signed yesterday is Swiss firm Pilatus Aircraft's largest ever. The deal is understood to have been pushed through with some effort by the Swiss government, which actually came in for criticism in 2011 by pacifist groups in that country, which claimed India could arm the trainer aircraft for use in "conflict zones" like Kashmir and the North East. The country's export control agencies considered suggestions to that effect before setting them aside and approving the export of the PC-7 to India. The aircraft also dogfought an aggressive Korean protest (when the facts get clearer, you'll know just how close they got to way-laying the entire process).

The IAF stipulates that first Indian PC-7s need to begin arriving by August next year, but there's reason to expect the first aircraft as early as early next year. The contract, which includes an integrated ground-based training package, contains options for 30 more aircraft within three years of contract signature.

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