May 29, 2017
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Touching cockpit
Trainer aircraft requirement of Indian armed forces

The procurement of Intermediate Jet Trainers for the Indian Air Force has once again crashed into the shoal of an inadequate engine, an inherent asymmetry in the superstructure, and the proverbial monopolistic instincts of the sole aircraft manufacturer, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Once again, for the umpteenth time, a foreign engine was acquired to build the urgently required Intermediate Jet Trainer.

A French Snecma engine was chosen. It proved to be under-powered. A more powerful Russian replacement was acquired after some delay but then it turned out that the ‘inherent asymmetry’ of the airframe made it difficult to practice the life-saving manoeuvre of inducing a stall and tailspin and getting out of it with constant practice.

The designs have been sent back to the drawing board for rectification. That, it turned out was outside the competence of the HAL design bureau and foreign help had to be sought to rectify the asymmetry.

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