New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has signed a contract with Swiss firm Pilatus for procurement of 75 Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) to train its rookie pilots and the delivery of these planes is scheduled between February 2013 to August 2012, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
"A contract for procurement of 75 Basic Trainer Aircraft was signed with Pilatus Aircraft Ltd, Switzerland on 24 May... The delivery of these 75 aircraft is scheduled from February 2013 to August 2015," Defence Minister AK Antony told the House in a written reply.
In reply to a separate question on shortage of pilots in the IAF, he said that there is a shortfall of over 600 trained pilots in the force.
"The present strength of pilots as on 1 August is 3,261 against the sanctioned strength of 3,294," Antony said, adding that "the available strength of pilots in IAF is sufficient to meet the current requirement".
Replying to a question on development of "Friend or Foe System" for the forces, Antony said such a system has been designed, developed and has already been put into production.
"Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), Bangalore-based DRDO lab has designed, developed and productionised Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF) Mark-XII system," he said.
In his reply to a question on achievements of DRDO, Antony said, "Many systems developed by DRDO for the Armed Forces during the last five years can also be used for civilian applications."
There are 50 laboratories functioning under Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and at present, there is no proposal to set up new laboratory under DRDO, he said.