February 11, 2008:
India is buying
another 40 British Hawk jet trainers. Four years ago, after two decades of
effort, BAE Systems has finally sold 66 Hawk jet trainers to India, at a cost
of some $25 million each. The delays were caused by the governments
unwillingness to spend the money, plus the efforts of French, Russian, Czech
and American aircraft manufacturers to put forward their own candidates.
Finally, the growing number of Indian MiG-21 aircraft lost, partly due to
inadequately trained pilots, forced the government to close the deal. The Hawk
advanced jet trainers are the most successful Western aircraft of this type, at
least in terms of sales (over 800 have been sold). The US Navy uses the Hawk,
and India felt the Hawk was the most suitable for training MiG-21 pilots. The
nine ton aircraft are used to train pilots who will eventually fly jet
fighters. The Hawk can also be armed and used for ground attack.