Indigenously designed and developed, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) also known as ‘Sitara‘ commenced spin flight testing in Bengaluru.
“The spin testing of an aircraft is the most crucial phase of its flight testing. Accordingly, the testing will be gradually progressed to assess the behaviour of the aircraft till six turn spins to either side to meet the targeted requirement,” HAL said in a press release,
“The IJT has already been tested to its full envelope in terms of speed, altitude and load factor (`g’ envelope) and has also been integrated with drop tanks as well as bombs,” they added.
— HAL (@HALHQBLR) November 23, 2020
During the first flight, initially the aircraft was taken through one turn spin to the left and right hand sides to test the spin characteristics.
The flight was piloted by HAL’s test pilots Gp. Capt H.V. Thakur (Retd) and Wg. Cdr P. Avasti (Retd).
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HAL was started working on IJT (Intermediate Jet Trainer) program in 1997 to replace HJT-16 Kiran aircraft. Since then the program was struck by major delays.
Issues in the Sitara spin capability caused more delays in the programme and IJT undergone redesign work, particularly for tail section.
For spin test, HAL redesigned the aircraft by moving the vertical tail aft and extending the rudder surface. These changes for ensuring a satisfactory spin behaviour required extensive redesign of the rear fuselage and the rudder.
The changes have been incorporated in two aircraft with the involvement and clearance from certification agencies at every stage. Post modification, the two aircraft underwent significant flight tests to assess the general handling with the new configuration of fin and rudder.
IJT have now been incorporated with the necessary safety devices (Anti-Spin Parachute Systems).
Sitara is capable to fly at a speed of 0.75 mach and can carry armaments up to 1,000 KG in its 5 hardpoints under the wing.
HJT-36 Sitara Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) to replace the ageing Kiran aircraft fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF).