HAL has initiated a critical phase of the intermediate jet trainer (IJT) programme by calling for bids to weaponise the aircraft. After hurdles delayed the flight test programme last year, the Indian intermediate jet trainer HJT-36 Sitara is on course to obtain initial operational clearance (IOC) in June. Crucial spin recovery tests — mandatory for the IOC checklist — are scheduled to begin in the next two weeks. In the meantime, since the Sitara will be used for primary weapon training of pilots in gunnery, rocketry, bombing and weapon aiming, HAL has now invited bids to give the platform a 12.7-mm gun pod (with 200 round capacity) suitable for its in-board wing stations.
The programme team intends to deliver a fully operational platform to the IAF in 2013. The IAF has asked for over 70 aircraft, but is almost certain to finally order nearly three times that number. The aircraft will be flown by the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) once ready. The HJT-36 will also feature prominently on HAL’s export catalogue, possibly as a light attack aircraft as well. Am working on a retrospective of the Sitara programme, with lots of pictures. That should be done in the next week or so.
Exclusive photos of the limited series production HJT-36 here
9 thoughts on “Effort To Arm Indian Stage-2 Trainer Begins”
One less import … one at a time… + basic domestic industry expertise
+ money stays in the country
+ some job creation
would make a jolly good counter insurgency and close air support aircraft IMHO.
To Abhiroop: Using 12.7mm guns or even 2.75-inch rockets for counter-insurgency operations? Are you thinking about targetting insurgents or levelling rural hamlets? The HJT-36 is at most a flying training machine and should never be used in actual combat, as it will not have an on-board defensive aids suite, meaning it will be an easy target for 6km-range MANPADS like the Igla-1/S, Mistral, Stinger, Anza Mk1/2, QW-1/2/3 and FN-6/16. Long gone are the days when fixed-wing flying training aircraft (be they turboprops or turbofan-powered) could fly directly over their ground-based targets for straffing runs. Today, such targets are best engaged by armed aeroscout machines like the LCH from standoff distances, as exemplified by the operations undertaken by the Pakistan Army Aviation Corps in Swat and Waziristan.
Reality of Sitara. It seems from the article, spin tunnel test is the most crucial amongst all. Let's hope the IAF gets the aircraft within the timeline specified.
Hope Baldev Singh doesn't forget to lock the canopy properly this time!!!
LOL, this is funny. Is that's all HAL wants to do now? weaponize trainers. Well, then its not 1940 anymore and this aint WW1.
Least expected the IJT to go roaring over Bangalore skies. I saw it fly at a reasonable speed in a straight line a couple of times.
Good idea. Every trainer should be armed for a secondary role. Somebody's got to look after the home when the heavies are busy elsewhere.
Turn it into a UAV