India signs deal for 194 micro-light planes with Slovenian firm

New Delhi: India today signed a contract with a Slovenian firm for 194 micro-light aircraft to be used by Indian Air Force, the Navy and the National Cadet Corps (NCC). The contract has been signed with Pipistrel for 'Virus FW80'. The Indian version of the aircraft will be known as 'Garur'. The deal is valued at Rs 105.5 crore, defence sources said.

India had first issued a Request for Proposal (RfP) for the micro-light aircrafts in 2011. The aircraft is a two- seater trainer, capable of take-off and landing on prepared as well as semi-prepared surfaces.

Made of advanced carbon fibre material, it is capable of carrying two crew members and their equipment. They added that while 110 of the machines are meant for NCC, air force will receive 72 of these aircraft.

IAF needs these aircraft for carrying out bird reconnaissance of air fields and their arrival is expected to give a big boost to flight safety. Navy, too, will devote these aircrafts for the same purpose while NCC will use them for training its cadets, defence sources said.

The delivery of the aircraft is expected to commence in the next one year.

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