Unbelievable. The first prototype (S-3466) of India’s intermediate jet trainer (HJT-36 Sitara) crashed in Southern India earlier today, but both pilots ejected safe. The HJT-36 aims to achieve initial operational clearance by the end of this year, and has been facing delays as a result of challenges in spin trials. Not sure if today’s accident had anything to do with that. This is staggeringly bad news.
This was the same prototype that was severely damaged in a take-off scrub in February 2007 at that year’s Aero India show. And now it’s gone. What a pity. For the record, this is the third accident involving an IJT prototype, but the first crash.
News9 video report from the crash-site here.
Photo ©Rahul Devnath / Bharat Rakshak