New Delhi: Slovenia aircraft maker, Pipistrel, has successfully delivered the first batch of microlight planes to India and is slated to deliver all 194 it contracted for in 30 months from now.
The Ajdovscina-based company had won the contract worth Rs.130 crore ($20 million) in October 2015. The deliveries would go to the Indian Navy, Air Force and the National Cadet Corps.
“The first batch of the Virus SW 80 Garud aircraft was delivered to the Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, just outside capital New Delhi in mid-July,” the company was quoted as saying in a press release by the Slovenian Press Agency.
The company would delivery the 194 aircraft at over 100 locations. The contract envisions a repeat order for at least 97 aircraft at a later date.
The Pipistrel Academy, a training institution of the company, has already started familiarising and training Indian pilots and instructors on the aircraft, the release said.
It was also training Indian technical instructors on the aircraft’s working and maintenance.
Pipistrel has deployed two of its own technicians to train the Indians and they have already completed the first stage of training of the Indian technicians on the aircraft maintenance.
When India ordered for the Virus SW 80, it had created aviation history for the single largest deal for microlight planes.
The Indian government nod for buying the microlight aircraft came in July 2015 at the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
At that meeting, the DAC had given the final approval for the 194-plane deal, but had broken up the entire contract into two.
The first part of the contract would take care of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) requirement – pending for nearly 10 years now – of 110 microlight for training air wing cadets.
The second part of the deal is for supplying 84 of these microlight aircraft to the Air Force and the Navy.
Under the second part of the deal, IAF would get 72 and Navy 12 microlights. The two armed forces would use these microlight for adventure sport activities.