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IJTs pulled out of Aero India

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File images of the two prototypes of Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT). HAL photo

BANGALORE (BNS): Even as Aero India has attracted large number of foreign participation, the Indian presence has been curtailed a bit. The indigenously developed Intermediate Jet Trainer will miss the air show. The aircraft was earlier scheduled to take part in flight demonstration but a recent crash has cast a shadow on its performance.

“Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the manufacturers, just decided not to send the aircraft to this year's Aero India show,” secretary (defence production) Pradeep Kumar said.

The accident has raised question mark on the flying capability of the aircraft. During an air show, one of the two prototypes had crash landed at the HAL airport. The aircraft had met with similar accident ahead of the previous Aero India in 2007 when the canopy of its cockpit opened inadvertently. The aircraft veered off the runway after it lost control following the incident.

Even as IJT has been pulled out, HAL plans to pitch in other aircraft for flight demonstrations. The much delayed Light Combat Aircraft will display its flying capabilities along with Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers and Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters.

The Indian Air Force is awaiting the induction of IJTs which is under development for several years. The aircraft was undergoing crucial flight tests. The officials said IJTs have been pulled out as HAL did not want to take any chances. The aspects of flight safety were of prime importance, they said.

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