HAL’s IJT Delayed, IAF Scouts Foreign Source

The face-off between the Indian Air Force and HAL over the basic trainer programme festers nastily, much of it in public. But here’s something that’s been in the pipeline for a while now. And it gives me no pleasure to say I told you so.
The IAF has published a request for information to support a potential acquisition of intermediate (Stage-II) jet trainers from abroad “for a primary task of Stage–II training of Pilots and also capable to undertake a secondary task of Counter Insurgent Operations” (sic).
This was inevitable. The IAF has grumbled about HAL’s delayed HJT-36 Sitara for months now. Last month, in a perplexing note to Parliament, the MoD said the Sitara was scheduled to achieve final operational clearance (FOC) by December 2014 (there’s been no word on IOC, though). The IAF announcing a requirement in the global market could mean many things: (a) It simply doesn’t have faith that HAL will deliver the HJT-36 on time anymore — the HJT-36 should have been in service by June 2012. (b) It does not have faith in the aircraft itself (spin and stall recovery characteristics remain largely unproven). (c) A psychological pressure tactic on HAL, not unprecedented — it’s on right now on the basic trainer domain.
Either way, the IAF has put out a very specific list of requirements. To quote from the RFI:

The aircraft should be easy to fly and have good control response/agility. The flying qualities should preferably conform to Mil-F-8785C and Mil Std 1797-A. The aircraft should demonstrate the following qualities: (a) Stalling. An unmistakable natural stall warning should be available, irrespective of the configuration. (b) Spinning. The aircraft must be resistant to spin but it should be possible to perform intentional spin upto six turns to either side and recover safely thereafter. The aircraft behavior in the spin should be predictable and consistent. (c) Aerobatics The IJT should be capable of performing loops, barrel rolls, rolls, combination maneuvers and negative ‘g’ flight without adverse effects on the engine and aircraft structure. The aircraft should be capable of sustained inverted flight for at least 30 seconds at sea level at maximum takeoff power.

Interestingly, the IAF has also specified a ‘counter-insurgency’ role for the platform it’s looking for. In 2011, HAL began the process to kit out the HJT-36 with armament. For its freshly stated requirement, it has specified the following:

The aircraft should be capable of carrying at least 1000 kg of external load. The aircraft should be equipped with a minimum of five hard points and each hard point on the wing should be stressed to carry at least 300 kg stores. The aircraft should be, free from buffet, dutch roll, snaking and wing rock during air to ground weapon training. The aircraft should be capable of employing the following armament: (a) Gun. A light weight gun/ gun-pod with adequate ammunition for at least 5 sec of firing time. (b) Rocket Pods. Reusable rocket pods. (c) Bombs. Should be able to carry at least 4×250 kg retarded or ballistic bombs. The stations should be capable of employing Carrier Bomb Light Stores (CBLS) type of dispensers for carriage of practice bombs (25 lbs and 3 Kg).

20 thoughts on “HAL’s IJT Delayed, IAF Scouts Foreign Source”

  1. During Defexpo they told that it would be heading for spin and stall testing in a month
    "HAL rep said that the HJT-36 IJT is likely to commence stall tests within a month. HAL has identified the point on the wing where the boundary layer flow is breaking up leading to a wing premature drop and would use strakes to energize the body layer."

  2. The stupid AL-55 engine of this HJT-36 trainer aircraft has a MTBO time of 350 hours. So imagine, every 350 hours, it will need overhaul and there is no MRO in India so it will be sent to NPO Saturn factory in Russia. NO calculate on the basis that its a trainer and find the cost.

    HAL could not get any Japanese, Rolls Royce or even Ivchenko-Progress engines for this aircraft. It had to take an unproven engine with sole source contract!!!!

    Now Russians are asking extra money to increase the MTBO of this engine. As they say, if a fool has money, smart ones will soon grab it.

    My question is, if HAL has proven to be incompetent in developing this aircraft, why can't government ask Indian private companies to come up with better solutions? Give the project to a company or a consortium and let them come up with solutions. And downgrade HAL to a subcontractor in the project.

    This is what is waiting to happen if HAL is allowed to develop its basic trainer and Pilatus is denied.Same is happening with medium multi role helicopter project.

    This company is epitome of lethargy, incompetence, mismanagement and public money waste. Without even consulting IAF, this company gave up its share in the development of FGFA and reduced its role from 50% to 15%, which confounded everyone.

    Its privatisation or sale would be the beginning of Aviation revolution in India. This is worst face of monopoly in this sector.

  3. The Mil-F-8785C standard is inactive as per US Military ASSIST website since 1996 for all new designs and MIL-STD-1797 has been revised to B in 2004 and the A version is not valid since then. Welcome to our Armed Forces asking for inactive specifications and then crashing the aircrafts like the Herc. No wonder the Americans and Europeans are laughing at us and dumping all old items on us.

  4. Waste of money. We should stick to PC7, Hawk and bring in LCA LIFT.
    HAL has to cut down its R&D program's half to be effective. Same with IAF 3 combat types, 3 Transport types, 3 helicopters types. We can save A a lot of money

  5. @Anon 7.32 PM and 6.38 AM

    The doors have been opened to Pvt sector since early 2000. Why haven't they invested even a dime in this sector since then? All they want is monopolistic Govt contracts after formation of "JV" with a foreign company. Their role is nothing other than middlemen and kickback laundering machines.
    Those crying for Pvt sector involvement should first answer which car they drive or prefer to drive a Tata Indica/Indigo/Manza or Honda Jazz/City or Toyota Corolla?

  6. The nation cannot afford expensive imports when half billion of our population defecate in the open or go to bed with empty stomachs. We need to get our priorities right. The armed forces along with babus and netas will want a steady stream of expensive imports to fill their pockets which indigenous products do not yield. It's time AAP focussed on corruption in our arms purchase.

  7. To Anon @12:30 PM
    Here goes HAL tattu sentinal. don't you have brains? people disagree with you on every forum.
    No one likes govt. organizations and prefer private sector ANYDAY

  8. Imports isn't a solution the air force wants. It's the incompetence and inefficiency of Drdo and hal which forces them to import.

  9. you think govt will allow iaf to procure a foreign ijt when our own is in its last stages of development and they have spent millions on this and if airforce have waited for 15 years than a few more months shouldnt have mattered to them its all part of pressure tactics to get hal back online as indicated in the original article because in the absence of domestic competitor it is the most effective way to get jobs done same is true for the follow on purchase of 106 basic trainers for which hal is now spending money from its own pocket without any support from govt or iaf to design,develop and deliver an indegenious basic turboprop trainer as soon as possible

  10. Producing more Tejas Mk1's as LIFT (shifting Hawks lower in training sequence) is a solid idea *IF* production can be increased. IAF cannnot give up any combat jets as it is already woefully below mandated force levels.

    If it's do-able then do it, if it's too much trouble, don't worry about it because this is not cutting edge stuff, it's training jets. India already has LCA, Rafale, FGFA, and future AMCA workshare and development, taking a trainer jet to full production just isn't some huge necessity. Trying harder on future programs to complete them on time is a better thing to focus on, rather than allocating engineers for one other technologically irrelevant project.

  11. All those who are posting nonsense on this site including Shiv Aroor are not likely to have capable kids because they do not know the process of competency building. Anything tried for the first time in the country is doubly difficult. These posters should raise their kids to be watchmen or jokers instead of scientists.

  12. LCA can be used for anti-insurgency missions. It is unlikely to see any frontline combat anyway. Against J-10 and J-20s, it will be a pigeon-shoot.

  13. Folks, its a combination of both push and pull type factors in the logjam in Indian forces (particularly IAF) requirements. Apart from HF-24 Marut, no other fighter could have been claimed to be completely indigenised and the learning was never transferred to other projects apart from screw-driver and painting activities. HAL has been the bane of Indian Armed forces because it keeps churning out substandard equipment and even MLUs to aircraft. Has anyone compared the rate of accidents in same aircraft overseas compared to those made by HAL? There may be slight but definite increase in HAL made planes. I have been reading about the 'best and latest' LCA since I was in Junior college 21 years ago and it still has not come to production. The only relatively successful project by them till date has been Dhruv which still needs to jump up production quantity. Govt should close or privatise HAL as it needs to retrospect that it cannot afford to throw wasteful tax dollars where half of our countrymen dont have access to clean water and toilets. The previous bosses of HAL should be criminally prosecuted and their names published to scare the current authorities even more to deliver or suffer shame.

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