Indian Air Force seeks overhaul of its ageing Kiran trainer jets

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by JAISWAL, Dec 30, 2011.


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    Mar 13, 2010
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    Indian Air Force seeks overhaul of its ageing Kiran trainer jets |
    Rookie pilots take their first flying lessons on Kiran jets powered by Viper 22-8 engines.The Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking to overhaul the engines of the ageing Kiran-mk1/ 1A, the mainstay of its basic flying training programme.

    Rookie pilots take their first flying lessons on these aircraft powered by Viper 22-8 engines that came out of the Rolls Royce stable. The IAF has sought global vendors who can overhaul 25 such engines.

    After the grounding of HPT-32, a piston aircraft, in 2009, the IAF’s training academy in Hyderabad is training young pilots straight on Kiran-mk1 jets. The IAF has close to 100 Kirans at its academy. Because of the shortage of aircraft, the plane flown by the IAF and navy’s aerobatic teams Suryakiran and Sagar Pawans respectively, are being utilised for training.

    Not only are the numbers inadequate, the fleet is ageing. The engine overhaul is carried out according to the recommendation of the original equipment manufacturer.

    The training of pilots has been a cause of worry for the IAF for some time now. Senior officials agree that putting rookie pilots straight on aircraft powered by jet engines is not the ideal situation. But at the moment that is the only option available.

    The HPT-32 basic trainers are beyond revival because of serious technical defects. But its replacement is still not in sight. The IAF has selected Swiss Pilatus PC-7 as its choice for the basic trainer after a global bidding but the proposal is awaiting the nod of the cabinet committee on security.

    The IAF hopes that the contract for the new trainer would be finalised soon. Even if the deal is signed by the next month, it will take at least three more years for the delivery of the aircraft.

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