Confirming a series of reports here on Livefist on devastating trouble for HAL's indigenous HJT-36 Sitara intermediate jet trainer, Indian defence minister Arun Jaitley today told Parliament that critical problems with the platform had forced the Indian Air Force to look for a foreign replacement. Here's the minister's full statement:
The IAF conducts intermediate stage of flying training for ab-initio pilots on the Kiran aircraft. These aircraft will complete their technical life over the next couple of years. HAL, which has been developing the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), as a replacement for the Kiran aircraft, has not so far been able to resolve critical wing and airframe Design & Development issues related to stall and spin. In order to meet the emergent situation created due to inordinate delay in the IJT project, IAF has already initiated the process for extending the technical life of the Kiran aircraft. The IAF has also initiated action to look for alternate options for the IJT.The current situation is, in effect, a culmination of rumblings that Livefist reported in 2012. Plain bad news. For the IAF. For HAL. For indigenous industry.