Saturday, July 05, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Totally Cornered, HAL To Re-design Lumbering Intermediate Trainer

This was coming. And now it's official. Pincered in by a combination of pressures that would pluck a plum bit of business out of HAL's hands, the state-owned aviation manufacturer has decided to re-design and weight-optimise its Stage-II jet trainer, the HJT-36 Sitara, officially calling upon global airframers to size up the platform and hammer out a prescribe. After persisting with the line that the aircraft platform was fine, and that it was rapidly piercing through test points towards service status, the new decision to scout assistance is HAL's first admission that there's been trouble all along.

Here's the preamble to HAL's officially published call for help on June 30:
The HJT-36 aircraft presently weighs around 4150 Kg in its Normal Training Configuration, i.e., with two pilots and full internal fuel without any external stores. HAL is envisaging achieving maximum possible weight reduction / optimisation for the aircraft.
After a one page description of the major components going into the all-metallic fuselage, wing, empennage, avionics and electrical system, propulsion, landing gear and flight control system, the company cuts to the chase:
The design of the above need to be revisited, analyzed and the scope for weight reduction / optimization studied while ensuring the required strength, stiffness & fatigue criteria. The new innovative ideas w.r.t. material, LRU’s and other related equipments maintainability shall be included. Towards this HAL is looking forward for partnership / technical assistance / consultancy from a well experienced airframe design house. The interested companies may respond with detailed justification of their capabilities and tentative plan with time lines for HAL to consider issuing formal tenders.
And just to be clear that they're talking about the full deal, HAL adds:
This weight reduction / optimization study must be comprehensive, encompassing all the Structure, Mechanical Systems & Electrical Avionics Systems. It should meet the adequate strength, stiffness and fatigue criteria, methodology for testing, Analysis and functioning details are to be provided. 
Significantly, HAL doesn't indicate that this redesign pushes the aircraft's already in-service date. Here's how it sums up the project's current status in its invitation to airframers:
The aircraft is in an advanced stage of development and is expected to enter service within the coming year. The company has a firm order of 85 aircraft from the Indian defence services. Further orders for this aircraft are expected once it is operationalised. 
The pressure on HAL has been sustained and rightly unforgiving: after a public spat over the trainer that peaked last year, the IAF declared in February this year its official interest in importing Stage-II trainers, intended as a training bridge between the now in-service Pilatus PC-7 Mk.II basic trainer and BAE Hawk advanced jet trainer. Also, the IAF may be entirely unwilling to induct the HJT-36 if it doesn't meet weight and performance criteria. The redesign call proves the aircraft isn't anywhere near what the IAF wants.

27 comments :

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha..

Anonymous said...

not a surpise, much monney lost of tax payer, it is the same for tejas, it need to redesign again.
For more efficience, need to give developpment to private company Indian Reliance in partnership with Dassault/Thales, for get know how and production management and methods.
HAL seem not realy able to develop any jet fighter. That why Dassault don't want work with HAL but mainly with Reliance.

Anonymous said...

Hal is one of shittiest govt org , they can't design planes any more it's better namo privatises hal and send useless engineers home it really frustratING airforce even afyer decades they can't compete tejas , sitara programms

Anonymous said...

Privatise projects at least now.

Anonymous said...

This should make all those people who alleged IAF wax plying games. Hope LCA is built well

Anonymous said...

It is high time that HAL looks for someone like prof. Kurt Tank as lot of highly successful aero designers have retired and an extraordinary offer be made and try to iron out the problems. The air intakes are a very old design and change the engine to Honeywell F 125 engine and then get something decent pulled up soon as possible as IAF has lost patience and would lower the requirement and buy some imported stuff at exorbitant price with very poor spares support and most of the fleet in hangers. I feel the same holds true for Tejas as well as Kaveri and it is high time that the frontline fighter has to have a new flight computer , avionics package and full supply line so that the servicibility of SU 30 be increased to 90 percent with spare production fully done in india. China could make a copy of SU 30 as JF 11 then india is definitely lagging behind. Instead of buying extremely expensive Rafale and ruining the future of IAF , the priorities be get someone to redesign IJT , complete the LCA mk2 earliest and mass produce it. Change the avionics and computer of the SU 30 and manufacture all the spares in the country and keep the servicibility to 90 percencent and if required start production at Nasir plant with F 110 engine and new avionics and new radar and put lot of money in research for AMCA.

Rahul(Kolkata) said...

The truth of the swadeshi restaurants is out...The bubble has bust....Those who were very fond of calling the IAF and Indian Army as a blocker of swadeshi movement, should now hold their ears and do up and down infront of public....And all those swadeshi dream merchants must now be made to stand in a line and all should be shot down....HAL, the biggest joker of them all with decades of experience in tightening nuts and screws should be dismantled once and for all....

Anonymous said...

Namo Govt must pull the ear of IAF for behaving like a spoilt child. India does not have the money to continue with it's past practice of purchasing expensive kickback generating imports while more than half billion population starves.

No one has produced a fighter jet without teething problems. A souped up Ajeet can be a stop gap arrangement till Sitara irons out the glitches. MESSAGE TO NAMO GOVT - NO MORE EXPENSIVE IMPORTS WHEN SUITABLE PRODUCTS ARE IN THE WORKS.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 8.43 PM

Which private entity has the capability to design and manufacture jets on their own?? If they had why aren't there any when the defense industry has been thrown open to them for past more than 10 years?

Anonymous said...

Shiv please remove moderation. Unwanted comments can always be deleted by you.

aero said...

Rahul from kolkata !!! please spend a day in HAL.... ur eyes will gauge out after seeing how our foreign friends are siphoning off our money for the licensed projects in the names of spares!!! u need a truck to carry back ur poop back to kolkata!!!

The Tarus said...

The idiot is back again

Anonymous said...

Mr. Chandra has it all wrong! The torpedo was not detonated by microwaves - it was done with a new space based weapon that is powered by microbrains and Mr. Chandra is one of the top sources of power for this weapon, among other similar producers of microbrain energy primarily located in North Korea, Iran and all of Pakistan.

So, you see Mr. Chandra, the US has been using your stupidity against India and you didn't even know about it. They are hoping and praying that you don't wise up anytime soon and render their new weapon useless. While Pakistan as a nation provide almost 60% of the mircobrains energy, you yourself account for almost 30% of it.

Cujo

Rahul(Kolkata) said...

Aero from space@2:51 PM...I don't need to spend any day anywhere...You just need to wake up...The foreign manufacturers are siphoning off taxpayers money to supply spares because of the simple reason that we are incapable of making it....These HAL's and other swadeshi dream selling merchants have fooled us for long....I am also for swadeshi but standing infront of the cowdung and expecting a ripe mango to come out of it is probably too much to expect....

Anonymous said...

LOL! Satish Chandra is a Pakistani and his comments shows his desperation at closer Indo US links. His comments are source of amusement....microwaves from space to destroy torpedoes...hahahahaha

Rd said...

The IAF and Army should not be blamed as they are opting for foreign mall since Hal and drdo are not delivering what they should.
The navy is satisfied with indigenous stuff since they are world class

Kartik said...

Shiv, this isn't a re-design. It's optimization. If based on this you claim that the HJT-36 is to be re-designed and it's lumbering, then guess what? So was the Boeing 787, 747-8 and now the Airbus A-350. My company has been working for several years on weight reduction for all of these airplanes. On the 747-8, read up on Project Ozark- it deals with several improvements to the airframe and engine to reduce fuel burn and even major aerodynamic changes to the wing-body fairing to reduce drag. Does that mean that they're all lemons?

Why try to be so sensational when weight optimization is par for the course for all airplane programs?

Shiv Aroor said...

Kartik: Read the parts highlighted in the post. The terms of reference of this bid include a "comprehensive re-design" of major structures. I do know the difference between optimisation and redesign :)

Anonymous said...

NSR says ---

The most important part of a human being is heart and without it an aircraft can't move or take off...without a good heart body can't even function properly at all...

It brings the fundamental issue India is facing since its inception...
We had an indigenous fighter HF-24 Marut and our own engine, albeit a leaky one...
Our politicians just junked the brand new fighter instead of spending few crores to get them fixed and to upgrade them with the help of a reknowned aerospace expert Kurt Tank...
So they went with Mig-21 without any TOT of engine or systems...
Hundreds of them went down with out precious and bright pilots...

Politicians and Babus never learned a lesson...and I am not sure they will...

Need to collaborate with companies with expertise to fix the deficiencies in all of out planes, including IJT, BAT, LCA, Jaguar, etc

Need to get engine and avionics technologies for whatever we have and make them available at least 80 to 90 percent of the time...

It will give us enough time to build up LCA/Tejas I and II...

Need to pay and get full TOT for Mig-29 and SU-30MKI...including engine and avionics...

Or else same thing will lhappen with Mig-29 and SU-30MKI and our smart pilots will be dying in these coffins...

So instead of throwing away money on Rafale, put the money in the present programs and build greater numbers...

Pay whatever it takes to get full TOT to build our own aerospace design, development, and manufacturing base and jobs...

There is no other way for India...

On IJT, it is foolish to design on an engine which is not in existence and even not it development stage...
They should have gone with the upgraded version of Kiran Rolls Royce engines and kept making it more and more powerful...

So everything boils down to ENGINE and associated avionics...

May GOD show his grace on India...

Anonymous said...

@NSR

I agree. An upgraded Kiran is the best answer to IJT. This will give enough time to modify the Sitara to the full satisfaction of IAF.

Anonymous said...

And HAL is going to co-develop the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) ! HAL should learn to walk, before learning to run.

The FGFA project should be handed over to ADA/DRDO, who can at least claim credit for developing the Tejas.

Ram Bharadwaj said...

The reporting on the problems faced by big indigenous projects are very biased.
On 1 side we have the defense establishment which never gives the clear picture. It will always give tall claims. Standard lines of DRDO are "...4th or 5th in the world to develop this technology..." , "...FOC by year end....". No credibility at all.

On the other side a pantheon of defense analyst who will curse every move of the establishment.

There is no balanced view. Can we not have a expert panel which has people like NR Narayan murty , RA Mashelkar or prof yashpal or prog alagh or sreedharan ..This panel can audit the projects and suggest whether project viable or not Whether feasible or not.

This can't go on like this.
Whether it Tejas or Sitara or Arjun or Dhanush or any other

Anonymous said...



BTW i really don't understand why IAF needs an intermediate trainer aircraft between the PC-7 and the HAWK trainer. Lots of other airforces manage just fine going from a turboprop trainer like the PC-7 straight to a LIFT trainer like the HAWK.

Kartik said...

Shiv, the first part is clear- revisit the design, check strength check notes, check margins, see if weight can be shaved off or not, check if other materials may be usable to achieve weight reduction. All standard stuff, has been an ongoing feature on nearly every civil airplane program I've worked on, or known from other colleagues.
This is normal stuff, it really is, ask any aerospace industry insider.
For instance, on the 787, there were plans to install ribs made of composite, but there were concerns about schedule, as well as the novelty of it. So they went ahead and used metallic ribs. Later, when weight became an issue, the same ribs had to be re- designed using composites. Similar redesigns have been done for a host of parts and panels.

Remember they can bring these changes to the HJT-36 as part of rolling upgrades on the production line, again similar to how it's done on civil airplane production lines. First few HJT-36s may be heavier than desired, but the later batches may be lighter and meet the design goals.

Anonymous said...

NSR says ---
Anon 3:58 PM has an important and valid point...

It will give India time to fine tune weight and aerodynamics of the IJT and get a good and our own Indian engine (whether own or purchased with TOT)and LRU avionics, etc and then conduct extensive flight testing to get it to IAF...

This will create Indian aerospace infrastructure and jobs and it will be a stepping stone to bigger things like LCA II, AMCA, etc

However, they must fully make a review of what India can do or not able to do and then go out to get the knowledge and technology...

Otherwise it will be a repeat of LCA and 30 + additional years...

Anonymous said...

NSR says ---

Another point I would like to add is ...

When you buy multi-billion dollar C-130J, C-17, Apache, Chinook, SU-30MKI, Mig-29K (the last two were developed with our money), Scorpene, etc, India should demand complete transfer of critical technologies as offsets...

For example from USA, you can get GE F-414 and Honeywell F-125N engine technology as offset...bargain hard and they will give as in few more years they will move to more powerful engines...

Do the same with Russia for SU-30 and Mig-29 engine and avionics, etc as offsets...

India can use F-125IN in IJT too..

All these technologies should benefit Kaveri engine and make it one of the most powerful...

I think Modi government should go this way...

Anonymous said...

The moron... design in-charge... name should... published...