Left: The South Korean KAI KT-1 (crtsy Jetphotos.net) and Below: The Swiss Pilatus PC-7 Mark II (courtesy Airplane-Pictures.net)
What should the IAF buy: the lowest cost option? Or the option of a long-term strategic aerospace partnership with South Korea?
The lowest-bid (L-1) for the IAF Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) tender, which is for the off-the-shelf purchase of 75 trainers, has been submitted by Swiss company, Pilatus, for its PC-7 Mk II, which is essentially the Pilatus PC-9, with a derated engine to lower procurement and operating costs.
The second-lowest bid (L-2) has been submitted by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for its KT-1 trainer, which is a more contemporary and more powerful aircraft. KAI has also offered to work with HAL in developing the HTT-40, an indigenous basic trainer which the IAF wants to buy 106 of.
Which do you think is the better option? Remember, the IAF finds both these aircraft suitable for its needs. The Pilatus PC-7 Mark II has been selected on the basis of its lower price.