Indian AF, Tired of Delays, Looks Overseas for Trainer

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    NEW DELHI — The Indian Air Force, losing patience awaiting an indigenous intermediate jet trainer (IJT) that is seven years overdue, wants to purchase a trainer aircraft overseas, an Air Force source said.

    In development since 1999, the IJT is unlikely to meet a reworked deadline of achieving initial operational clearance by the end of 2014, leading the service to press the panic button, the source added.

    The Air Force uses aging Kiran basic trainers inducted in 1970-71, while the IJT, being developed by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), was scheduled to have been introduced nearly seven years ago.

    The Kiran has already exceeded its life expectancy and is scheduled to be retired in 2015, leaving a vacuum in pilot training, the source added.

    The Air Force now wants the Defence Ministry to procure trainers from overseas.

    No official from HAL was available for comment on the status of the IJT and the reason for delays, and no Defence Ministry spokesman would say whether a trainer would be bought from overseas if HAL experiences more delays. However, an MoD source said the repeated delays of the IJT are raising concerns.

    An Air Force official said there are problems with the Russian-built AL-551 engine that will power the IJT. Contracted in 2002 from NPO Saturn of Russia, the engine has still not received certification, the official said.

    The Russian engine needs to be overhauled more frequently than suits the Air Force, the official said. Without giving exact figures, the official said the Russian engine would need to be overhauled about every 150 hours of flying, while the Air Force wants the engine to operate at least 900 hours before an overhaul is needed.

    A Russian diplomat here, however, said the engine meets the basic requirements of the IJT, adding that the service life of the engine is being increased to 500 hours.

    Last year, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, the service’s chief of staff, asked the Indian defense minister to buy 68 additional Pilatus PC-6 Mark-II basic trainers from Swiss company Pilatus Aircraft, topping the earlier order of 75 trainers.

    In his letter to the defense minister, Browne wrote that given HAL’s poor track record, the proposed IJT should be put on hold and 68 additional Pilatus trainers be ordered instead.

    In August, India’s autonomous auditing agency, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), criticized HAL for delaying the IJT project.

    “The project suffered at every stage of its execution,” the CAG report noted. “While the planning went awry with indecisiveness about the weight, thrust and life of the engine at the design stage itself, taking up production without initial operational clearance did not serve the purpose of the [Air Force], which had projected requirement for the aircraft way back in 1999.”

    Indian AF, Tired of Delays, Looks Overseas for Trainer | Defense News | defensenews.com
     
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  3. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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  4. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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  5. vram

    vram Regular Member

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    "In his letter to the defense minister, Browne wrote that given HAL’s poor track record, the proposed IJT should be put on hold and 68 additional Pilatus trainers be ordered instead.

    In August, India’s autonomous auditing agency, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), criticized HAL for delaying the IJT project."

    Yep thats what I thought . But that still doesn't still explain this statement in the article. I am sorry to be cynical but get the feeling that with the elections due and spending to be frozen till new government takes over ...looks like some dollar eyed officers are making a final push for some baksheesh. All reports indicate that the IJT is nearing IOC , so why dig this up again ? either you have a problem with the engine from 2005 itself or you don't You can't out of the blue come and say there is an issue with the engine if you have been aware of this from the beginning. This is ofcourse theoretically speaking,

    BUT if any airforce official has come out and given the below statement. THEN THE BELOW IS A OUTRIGHT LIE..

    I have searched and not found ANY information that will point to the maintenance overhaul period of the engine being 100 to 150 hours. What was actually stated in a 2010 article is that the HAL was happy with the engines performance at that time and also -

    Russian Engine AL-551 Proves Satisfactory For Homegrown HJT-16 Trainer Aircraft - Defence Now

    What was actually said is that further research was being done both on request and also independently by the company to increase the tbo BY 500 hours and not TO 500 hours. There is an ocean of difference in meaning between the two sentences.

    Apparently an import lobby is not really interested in fine reading the articles it pushes on the gullible public.
     
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  6. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    I think the reporter here got confused between HTT & IJT.

    IAF wanted Pilatus instead of HTT, not IJT. Pilatus is for Stage 1 and IJT is for stage 2. One cannot replace the other.

     
  7. Phantom

    Phantom Regular Member

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    In 2009, when the HPT-32 Deepaks were grounded, for more than a year the Phase 1 training was being imparted directly on a Jet aircraft, the Kiran Mk2, followed by Phase 2 training on Mig21s !!

    If our rookie pilots could withstand that, I'm pretty certain IAF can impart effective training on Pilatus and BAe AJT for a while till the IJT Sitara clears FOC.
     
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  8. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    why don't we just re start manufacture HAL Ajeet with modern engine and avionics any chances of feasibility just an opinion / for stage 2 training ?
     
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  9. vram

    vram Regular Member

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    The rookie cadets probably are good and smart enough to handle the pressure ..but I agree with the IAF here in the sense that they shouldn't have to bear that kind of training irregularalities if there are alternatives available.But what I am arguing in this case is that we already have the planes for stage 1 and stage 3 in place ..and those are good trainers too amoung the best in the market. For stage 2 we already have an adequate trainer in Kiran. Only complaint is that it is not latest generation and ageing airframes. but don't see this as absolutely critical replacement. We should be able to make do for an additional year or so. Its NOT like we are just starting to build the Sitara .. for god sakes there are already many LSP versions flying and we close to IOC. What is baffling is the sudden urgency to save one Year by importing a new fighter by 2015 when Kiran is expected to begin retiring. I mean the rfp processes itself will take a year and what is the guarantee that the new chosen fighter will be available by 2015 when the Kiran is going to retire?? Can't we keep flying a trainer for another year or so when and wait for sitara when we can manage for 20 years for front line fighter like mig 21??? Crazy thought process by the IAF if the article is true...
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
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  10. kseeker

    kseeker Retired

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  11. TrueSpirit1

    TrueSpirit1 The Nobody Banned

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    Direct transition from a basic trainer to a supersonic Mig (& absence of AJT) was supposed to be the root cause behind more than half (exactly, 51%) of crashes/incidents (attributed to human errors). This is as per reports released by MoD to media.
     
  12. Phantom

    Phantom Regular Member

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    Not feasible, because the Ajeet is still a demanding aircraft. A Basic/Intermediate trainer still has to be very friendly and forgiving of the occasional errors committed by rookie pilots.

    The Ajeet also has swept back wings. Swept back wings increase the minimum take-off speeds, and are generally not preferred on entry-level jet trainers.
     
  13. Phantom

    Phantom Regular Member

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    I'd believe it if most of the accidents involved only rookie pilots. But that isn't the case. Once you've learned to fly the Mig21 well, you cannot go back to flaws in basic training as the cause of human error in air crashes.(I'm not even sure that Human error is to blame in most of the crashes. Perhaps human error in procurement of substandard spares and substandard servicing is more at fault)
     
  14. Phantom

    Phantom Regular Member

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    Exactly. How convenient for the IAF to suddenly realise they don't have an IJT and press for immediate imports, just when our Homegrown IJT is almost near maturity.
     
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  15. ladder

    ladder Senior Member Senior Member

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    IAF wants to import only 24 IJT for immediate requirement.

    While our requirement is for 100's, so no way it's death of IJT Sitara.

    Most probably IAF would go for a water-down version of BAE Hawk.

    Assuming no foul play by import lobby, IJT Sitara is hardly in any danger of being shelved.
     
  16. TrueSpirit1

    TrueSpirit1 The Nobody Banned

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    Yeah, but that's the official IAF-MoD line & we can only speculate what really happened.
     
  17. Phantom

    Phantom Regular Member

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    Which is all the more proof that something isn't right about this urgency. The maintenance and service costs for such small number of jets are still significant. Given the small purchase if it comes through, HAL may refuse to provide overhauling as it might prove uneconomical to service jets in such limited numbers. And what is the point in ending up with 4 different types of Trainer aircraft anyways?

    Truth be told, India should have brought more of those Polish Iskras. The pilots who've trained in them are all praise for it.
     
  18. rvjpheonix

    rvjpheonix Regular Member

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    The ajeet can be used as a an AJT. IIRC there was even a proposal for it. You are right about swept wings. I guess they increase the landing and take off speed.
     
  19. rvjpheonix

    rvjpheonix Regular Member

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    If we have to import I think the Yak will be a better option.
     
  20. Phantom

    Phantom Regular Member

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    Well, in that case, what's wrong with Kiran Mk2? They can also be manufactured again, and they're purpose-built Trainers as well.
     
  21. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    This trainer delay has gone on for a decade why rush to fix it?
     

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