Surya Kiran fleet to be used for pilot training, says IAF

"We will put to use the 12 Kiran aircraft of the SKAT in training rookie pilots and these aircraft would augment the existing Kiran fleet of the IAF training establishment," IAF Spokesperson Wing Commander T K Singha said here.

However, this would not mean that SKAT is being disbanded and the team would continue to perform even after the coming Air Force Day parade on October 8, he added. "The SKAT is not being disbanded. The aircraft will augment pilot training and the SKAT has in the past loaned their aircraft for such purposes," Singha added.

Expressing surprise over talks of SKAT being disbanded, its spokesperson Wing Commander D Roychowdhury told PTI, "We have no idea where these reports come from. We have not been sounded about it. It won't happen without us knowing."

The HPT-32s were grounded following a crash in July near Medak in Andhra Pradesh in which two experienced instructors were killed. This had led to a crisis in the IAF training establishment due to non-availability of trainer aircraft for basic stage-1 training of pilots.
IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik had last week said that the young pilots were now were being trained on Kirans, an aircraft that they graduated to after basic training on HPT-32.

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