No Thanks: India Turns Down British Advanced Aircraft
01:50 24.02.2017(updated 02:38 24.02.2017)
Following a request from India's Defense Ministry, New Delhi's Air Force has decided not to make an acquisition request for the British Advanced Hawk trainer aircraft, due to a recent bribery scandal.
British engineering company Rolls Royce, which produces the Hawk, was accused of bribing officials at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, an Indian state-owned company, between 2005 and 2009, acting as middlemen by ensuring that the Air Force used them to source Adour Mk aero engines engines for the 132 British Hawk advanced jet trainers.
In early January, the company had to pay more than $800 million after being accused of bribing allegations that implicated "intermediaries in a number of overseas markets" including the UK, Brazil and the US.
An investigation by the BBC uncovered evidence suggesting that £100 million (about $125,540,000) was passed to companies that are connected to Indian arms dealer Sudhir Choudhrie. A lawyer for Choudrie stated that his client "has never paid bribes to government officials or acted as an illegal middleman in defence deals."
Following the settlement, Rolls Royce CEO Warren East issued an apology saying, "The behaviour uncovered in the course of the investigations by the (UK's) Serious Fraud Office and other authorities is completely unacceptable and we apologise unreservedly for it…Along with colleagues around the world, I share a sense of disappointment and anger at how some people within our company behaved."
A senior official with IAF told Defense News, "We will not make any formal request for the Advanced Hawk to HAL, and the program will be officially shelved. This is because the MoD does not want [to] give additional orders for engines to tainted Rolls-Royce for the Advanced Hawk program…"IAF has no intentions to place any order for the Advanced Hawk trainers."
In 2015 HAL and BAE Systems, another British weapons manufacturer, signed a memorandum of understanding to develop and produce a trainer with combat capabilities for export and domestic markets.
Dave Corfield, head of India's Hawk program for BAE, said that, "The Advanced Hawk has been in the works for two years under a unique model with Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and BAE Systems is pooling resources to develop a faster, more agile Hawk that can also carry smart weapons," adding that wings, avionics and a multi-function display system were all supplied by HAL.
The Advanced Hawk can tote up to three tons of weapons, according to BAE, including laser designation pods, precision-guided munitions, air-to-air missiles, and air-to-ground missiles.
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