The Times of India reports that the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) proposed follow-on contract for 38 additional Pilatus PC-7 Mark II basic trainers for Rs 1,450 crore has been put on hold due to graft allegations. The IAF’s proposed purchase of 38 Pilatus basic trainers from the Swiss company envisions exercising a 50 per cent options clause in the May 2012 contract for 75 Swiss Pilatus PC-7 basic trainers for Rs 2,896 crore.
Since 2013, I have reported almost single-handedly on the IAF’s motivated campaign to buy the Swiss Pilatus PC-7 Mark II, rather than supporting Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s (HAL’s) project to design and develop an indigenous basic trainer – the Hindustan Turbo Trainer – 40 (HTT-40), which is currently at an advanced stage of development.
Whether there was mala fide intent on the part of IAF officials, I leave to your judgment. A close reading of my articles should leave you with little doubt about who the key crooks in this game were. As with so many crooked deals, this one too played out in both Congress and BJP days.
For journalists, criminal investigators and concerned citizens who might like to know more about how this played out, I am placing before you 13 links -- chronologically ordered -- to articles that I wrote on this subject for the Business Standard. All these articles are posted here on Broadsword. Please feel free to use my work as you deem fit.
29th July 2013, Air Force at war with Hindustan Aeronautics; wants to import, not build, a trainer, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2013/07/air-force-at-war-with-hindustan.html
30th July 2013, Air Force diluted at least twelve benchmarks for trainer aircraft, allowing Pilatus into the contract, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2013/07/air-force-diluted-at-least-twelve.html
31st July 2013, Admissions, obfuscations in Indian Air Force explanation on Business Standard reports, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2013/07/admissions-obfuscations-in-indian-air.html
1st Sept 2013, Air Force to discuss with HAL indigenous trainer road map, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2013/09/air-force-to-discuss-with-hal.html
14th Oct 2013, IAF to HAL: build Swiss trainer aircraft, don’t develop your own, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2013/10/iaf-to-hal-build-swiss-trainer-aircraft.html
26th March 2014, Air force resists Antony’s order for indigenous trainer aircraft, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2014/03/air-force-resists-antonys-order-for.html
21st Nov 2014, Pilatus or HAL’s trainer: Parrikar’s first “Make” decision, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2014/11/pilatus-or-hals-trainer-parrikars-first.html
30th Nov 2014, Purchase of Pilatus trainer aircraft deferred, future in limbo, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2014/11/purchase-of-pilatus-trainer-aircraft.html
7th Jan 2015, Scuttling a “Made in India” project: the case of the HTT-40 trainer, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2015/01/scuttling-made-in-india-project-case-of.html
14th Feb 2015, Defence ministry official questions whether Pilatus was cheapest trainer, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2015/02/defence-ministry-official-questions.html
2nd March 2015, “Make in India” for HAL trainer, import of Swiss trainer capped, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2015/03/make-in-india-for-hal-trainer-import-of.html
17th June 2016, Boost for “Made in India”, HAL demonstrates new trainer aircraft to Parrikar, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2016/06/boost-for-made-in-india-hal.html
13th Dec 2017, Aerospace industry eyes business worth Rs 12,500 crore, http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2017/12/aerospace-industry-eyes-business-worth.html