BIDAR: Preparations for receiving the `Hawk' Advanced Jet Trainer are almost complete at the Bidar Air Force Station. The first Hawk is expected to arrive from the British Aerospace Systems in 18 months.
Air Force sources told The Hindu that 80 per cent of the Rs. 150-crore civil works at the Bidar base had been completed. They include upgrading the runway to international standards. There will also be a landing Instrument Landing System facility to enable planes land and take off in bad weather. Other works such as construction of three new hangars for parking planes is also nearly complete.
The computer systems are being overhauled and this includes upgrading the electronic and computer systems at the air base. Improved versions of Geographical Information System and Global Positioning System will be installed at the Air Traffic Control towers and at the base command and control offices.
The non-technical works include construction of quarters for staff and schools for their children. The Air Force school building is already complete and the school has started functioning from this academic year.
The senior staff strength at the Bidar station is expected to go up by three times with the induction of Hawks. The process of transfer and deputation of staff has already started.
The first batch of 30 pilots will be leaving for the United Kingdom in November for being trained in flying Hawks. IAF instructors and engineers from the Military Engineering Service will also go to the United Kingdom. They will be drawn from all the Air Force bases.