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New Russian engines for IJTs arrive

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The HJT-36 prototypes in Nagpur recently for hot weather trials. HAL photo

BANGALORE (BNS): Three Russian turbofan engines for the indigenously developed new generation Intermediate Jet Trainers arrived here on Sunday. The AL-55I engines, delayed by several months, would be first fitted on the prototype trainer one, according to sources at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

The IJT is presently powered by the Larzac 04H20 engines, a French product, while the new AL-55I engines are developed by Russia’s NPO Saturn specifically for the IJT.

HAL managing director of Bangalore complex Ashok Nayak early this week told reporters that trials of the IJT including high speed taxiing tests, are underway. “The IJT which will perform at the Aero India- 2009 in February next year, will have a powerful Russian engine,” Nayak had said.

According to HAL sources, the trials of the new IJTs with the Russian engines will start sometime in mid-January.

The Russian engine is much more powerful that the French Larzac engines and would be the standard engine for the IJT that would be used for stage two of combat pilot training in place of the present HJT-16 (Kiran), HAL sources said.

The new IJT has been named Hindustan Jet Trainer-36 (HJT-36). HAL plans to produce 225 of these new HJT-36s, and both the air force and the navy will use them for training their pilots. Besides, these fighters will also become the standard aircraft of air force’s Surya Kiran aerobatics team. HAL sources said delivery of the new IJTs would start in June 2010.

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