14 years on, IAF jet trainer still not ready

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by kseeker, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. kseeker

    kseeker Retired

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    NEW DELHI: Proper training of rookie IAF pilots remains under a cloud with Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) still struggling to deliver its intermediate jet trainer (IJT), in the making for the last 14 years but yet to become fully-operational.

    While HAL has now promised the initial operational clearance (IOC) for its Sitara IJT by June 2014, IAF remains skeptical given the trainer has missed deadlines at least five times since 2007.

    Pilots are trained in three stages, first on a basic trainer aircraft (BTA), then on a IJT and finally on an advanced jet trainer (AJT) to learn the complex and inherently-dangerous art of combat flying.

    IAF has for long been saddled with unsafe, obsolete training aircraft like HPT-32 and Kirans, with new pilots often being unable to handle highly-demanding fighters like MiG-21s. Almost 40% of the 1,050 crashes recorded by IAF since 1970, for instance, have been attributed to "human error (aircrew)".

    IAF may be now breathing easy on the basic and advanced training fronts, with the ongoing induction of Swiss Pilatus PC-7 BTA and British Hawk AJTs, but the intermediate one remains a major problem.

    For one, Sitara cannot as yet "stall and spin", which is a critical manoeuvre to train young cadets on how to handle emergencies, hold their nerve and retrieve their planes from a spin. HAL is now closer to resolving this with help of experts from BAE Systems, said sources.

    But another major issue is the IJT's Russian AL-55I engine, which initially had a "time between overhauls (TBO)" of only 100 hours. After demanding more money, over the initial $350 million contract, Russia is now extending the TBO to 300 hours.

    But IAF wants the TBO be about 1,200 hours. "A trainer aircraft flies six to eight sorties daily, clocking around 10 hours. If the TBO is just 100 hours, the engine will have to be replaced every 10 days. This will require more engines and overhauls, apart from the planes sitting on ground for longer periods," said a source.

    Given all this, IAF has been forced to extend the operational life of its aging Kirans by another four years. It has refused to give more money to HAL for the IJT, over the Rs 4,500 crore already shelled out, till Sitara reaches "some verifiable milestone".

    In all, with 240 new trainee pilots every year, IAF requires 181 BTA, 85 IJTs and 106 AJTs. India has already inducted a bulk of the 123 Hawk AJTs ordered for its air force and naval pilots in an overall project worth around Rs 16,000 crore.

    The BTA issue, in turn, has been somewhat resolved with the Rs 2,896 crore deal for 75 Swiss Pilatus inked in May 2012. But IAF and HAL are still locked in a tussle over the additional requirement of 106 BTA, with the former asking the PSU to make the Swiss trainer under licensed production. But HAL is pushing its own under-development HTT-40 as the BTA. IAF contends it wants the IJT, and not two types of BTA.

    14 years on, IAF jet trainer still not ready - The Times of India
     
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  3. he-man

    he-man Regular Member

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    sorry to say but al-55 is a damn ******engine.
    we should have opted for something else instead.


    but it dosen't matter,looking at the pace of ijt,it will never be inducted although i do hope i am wrong.
     
  4. LTE-TDD

    LTE-TDD Regular Member

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    Time is always at India side, why worry?
     
  5. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Alot of people have no Idea abt what they are talking ..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They were inducted long back as LSP variant, Sitara will be getting it IOC-2 in few weeks ..

    More information on this thread >> http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/indian-air-force/57047-sitara-trainer-poised-enter-service.html
     
    sayareakd likes this.
  6. bennedose

    bennedose Senior Member Senior Member

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    I recall speaking to someone about the Al 55 engine. It is not as if the engine is unreliable, but Russian bureaucratic rules about engine safety demands that the Russians and only the Russians will dictate the number of hours between inspections. Only after they have certified every last thing for 100 hours will they allow the engine to be used for 300 hours between inspections. India is caught in this and there is nothing we can do - having agreed to use the new engine from Russia. It is not as if the engine is bad or is failing. If the Russians decide that some problems have cropped up after 100 hour maintenance and that modifications are needed, they will extend the period of uncertainty, as they did for the Gorshkov.

    India's fault is (IMHO) being too reluctant to spend money and effort on engine development and accepting that new engines might fail after just 10 hours of use. The Chinese WS 10 used to do just that I believe - it had to be changed/inspected after just 10 hours.

    We need to build an engine, fly it and not laugh and mock our engine builders if the engine requires maintenance after just 10 or 20 hours of flying. We need to invest in a flying test bed. That is the way engine experience is built up. But we Indians are inveterate admirers of phoren. We buy proven engines with 1000 hours periods between maintenance and roundly criticize any Indian who cannot do magic and come up with a similar engine.

    We need a basic change in attitude and a realization that nothing will come easy and fast, unless we sell ourselves out to someone who will hold us by our balls. The latter is what we have done for 60 plus years.
     
  7. bennedose

    bennedose Senior Member Senior Member

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    Because of our "import everything" policy for the Air Force, the IAF has become extremely competent as a great fighting force using proven, reliable equipment. For example, our Su-30s that went to the US for Red Flag were operational 100% of the time and were ready for all sorties.

    In a complex system such as a fighter aircraft in which sensitive equipment is subjected to great thermal and mechanical stresses some thing or the other is bound to fail. Sometimes a failed item is not vital and the plane keeps flying. At other times the plane gets grounded until the item is repaired/replaced. If that is a simple 1 hour job - fine. But if it takes 1 week, the plane is grounded for a week.

    Because the IAF has had "relatively" proven system proven by phoren companies and test pilots and engineers, our Air Force has shown great competence and efficiency in handling such equipment.

    Imagine if our Air Force had to deal with unproven and new equipment made in India. Then they might have to cope with engine inspections every 10 hours or so. This naturally decreases the efficiency of the air force as a fighting arm. A squadron of 12 fighters may have only 3 operational aircraft under such circumstances. The IAF has, in my view, not really faced this sort of situation as Western and Russian Air Forces have done in WW1 and WW2 and later conflicts. Those Air Forces have had to fight with untested and unreliable equipment and have experienced some real shit. The IAF too has experienced some real shit - but the IAF cannot really be stated to have experienced trouble unless they are forced to rely on totally Indian stuff. Having predominantly imported and proven maal takes a lot of pain out of maintaining an Air Force and allows the personnel to concentrate on fighting.

    However this creates delays and grounding due to sanctions. And it is very very expensive. I find it interesting that the IAF and media are openly critical when Indian companies (eg HAL/OFB) cause delays but when it comes to foreign maal we are "atithi devobhava". For example 14 years after Kargil some retired officer says that India got "out of date satellite pics" during Kargil "from a friendly foreign country". It irritates me no end that we are such pathetic losers that we openly curse our own people but hide the identity of our foreign bastard friends who cheated us. Have you ever heard the media curse Russia for giving us a cryo engine that failed? We only hear about the failure of Indian cryo engines. How many know that T-72 tanks needed a huge block of ice in the cabin to keep crew cool in the desert because there was no AC? How many know that the HF 24 had a fantastic AC for Indian conditions while equipment was warping and popping out of its place from the Indian heat in foreign aircraft? How many of you know of the time when half the IAf was grounded because Russia was not supplying brake-pads for MiG 21s. They could take off, but not land and brake. We suffer this shit and call people "friends" and we curse other Indians for being incompetent. What's it with us exactly?

    We have to suffer our own stuff. We have to be self reliant. That will definitely make the IAF less fighting fit in the short term, but India will be stronger in the long term

    China handled this well. They used to manufacture total crap, but promise to nuke anyone who thought they could win a war. We should do that. If our armed forces stand to lose a war because the equipment is faulty, we should resolve to nuke anyone who wants to take advantage of our weakness. I hope a new generation of politicians can understand these basic requirements of power play.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014

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