IAF to buy 75 Swiss trainer aircraft

Air Marshal (Training) Rajinder Singh said on Monday that India would purchase 75 training aircraft from Switzerland-based Pilatus Aircraft Company.

Thirteen of the ‘Pilatus - PC 7’ aircraft would be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) by January next year. The rest of the aircraft would be inducted thereafter at the rate of five every couple of months, he said.

Singh was speaking after the inauguration of the ECHS polyclinic for ex-servicemen in the city.  The Air Marshal said the Ministry of Defence had already signed an agreement for the purchase of the aircraft.

Presently, the IAF personnel were being trained on the HPT-32 aircraft. However, they lacked several key facilities. Hence, advanced aircraft were being inducted , he said.

Tejas, the much-awaited indigenous light combat aircraft, would join the IAF by December next year, Singh said. 

Though the number of candidates keen on joining the IAF was on the rise, there were not enough quality people being selected due to the strict selection criteria.  However, there was no question of relaxing the criteria, Singh said.

The strength at the National Army Training College was restricted to 350.  More than one lakh candidates wrote the test each year, he added.

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