Bidar, Karnataka: The Indian Air Force on Saturday inducted the BAE Systems-built Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) as part of the training squadron at the Air Force Station Bidar, nearly 150 km from Hyderabad.
The aircraft will train the new generation of Indian Air force fighter pilots.
The induction ceremony involved a breathtaking display of air manoeuvres by the Hawk AJT and was also attended by the defence minister, AK Antony, air chief, Fali H Major and a host of officers and dignitaries.
The induction of the Hawk aircraft fulfils a long-standing requirement of the Indian Air Force for an Advanced Jet Trainer.
With its proven design and advanced avionics, the Hawk-132 aircraft is expected to bridge the gap between the performance spectrum of the Intermediate trainer and frontline fighter aircraft which trainee pilots would eventually fly, an official said.
The aircraft is expected to greatly enhance flight safety and will have a beneficial impact on the quality of training being imparted to fighter pilots, he said.
The contract for purchase of 66 AJTs was finally signed in 2004 amid much debate in the country over frequent crashes of the MiG-21 fighter aircraft which earned them the sobriquet "flying coffins".
Of the 66 AJT Hawk-132 aircraft, 24 will be bought from the British Aerospace Systems while the remaining 42 will be manufactured under license by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd at Nashik and Bangalore.