IAF may buy foreign jet trainers after HAL misses multiple deadlines

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  1. AVERAGE INDIAN

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    Air Force may buy jet trainers from abroad after HAL misses multiple deadlines

    The Indian Air Force (IAF) may be forced to shop for a small number of intermediate jet trainers (IJTs) from abroad if the aircraft under development at home since 1999 is not certified this year.

    Young pilots fly IJTs in the second stage of their training to get used to handling relatively complex aircraft.
    An Indian IJT has been in the making for more than 14 years and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is confident that it will be able to get initial operational clearance sometime in 2014.

    Considering some serious design and development issues that had cropped up might delay the certification further, a proposal to allow the IAF to buy 30 per cent of its aircraft requirement from abroad has been thrown up as a contingency measure.
    The IAF has ordered 73 IJTs from HAL. It has supported the development programme and is closely monitoring the progress.
    Sources said the idea of buying 30 per cent of the requirement from abroad came up during a discussion in a recent meeting of Parliament's standing committee on defence which reviewed IAF's pilot training programme.

    Till now, the IAF was reluctant to exercise the option of buying the aircraft from a foreign country because of the homegrown effort to develop its own IJT. Deadlines for getting the operational clearance for the aircraft under development have been breached on a number of occasions, forcing planners to search for other options.

    The IAF is critically short of intermediate jet trainers. At the moment, it uses ageing Kiran MkI and Mk II for training its pilots. Kiran MkI was due to be phased out this year but its lifespan has been extended by four years. Maintenance of Kiran Mk II has become a major issue because no support for its Opheus engine was available.


    Read more: Air Force may buy jet trainers from abroad after HAL misses multiple deadlines | Mail Online
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