Indian Air Chief Marshal chief Browne is openly in a brawl with the Indian minister of Defence and HAL aircraft company over the basic trainers for the Indian Air Force. Browne demands HAL to build 106 Swiss designed PC-7s under license and drop the indigenous Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40).
According to the Business Standard much is about the costs of the new HTT-40 compared to the proven Pilatus PC-7 Mark II. The Indian Air Force is already procuring 75 of these Swiss primary training aircraft, while the HTT-40 is supposed to have its maiden flight in 2015 at the earliest.
With both the Indian Defence minister and the HAL leadership refusing to give in to the air boss’s demands, Air Chief Marshal Browne doesn’t want to give up either quoted by the Business Standard that it will be easier for the air force to maintain and operate one proven basic trainer aircraft.
Of the 75 ordered PC-7s 18 have already been delivered and flying in IAF colours. Final delivery is planned for mid-2015. By the end of August, the still small IAF PC-7 fleet has already logged 3000 flight hours with almost 5600 landings.
Despite the challenges of adverse weather conditions due to the onslaught of monsoons, the first solo flights were successfully completed within the initial three weeks of flight training. The PC-7s fly from the airstrip of the Air Force Academy at Dundigal. The first Indian Air Force Basic Training course using the Pilatus PC-7 MkII aircraft, commenced on the 1st of July 2013, is well underway with more than 80 students.