Prolonging Surya Kiran's life...

Prolonging Surya Kiran's life...

Air Marshal Ramesh Rai, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Headquarters Training Command, Bangalore, expressed his interest to extend the life of the HAL Kiran aircraft, the mainstay of the famous aerobatic team Surya Kiran, by another “three to four years”.

Speaking at a programme to mark the golden jubilee of the aircraft during the Aero India show here on Saturday, he said: “Kiran has been a great success. I myself have 1500 hours of flying in it and it has been with the Air Force through all kinds of crises. I want to extend its life for another two to three years before the IJT (intermediate jet trainer) comes in.”

The HAL HJT 16 Kiran made its first flight on September 4, 1964. Made popular by the aerobatic team of the Surya Kirans (IAF) and the Sagar Kirans (Navy), a number of variants of the aircraft were subsequently developed from the Kiran MK 1A to the Kiran MK II. So far it has trained as many as 10,000 pilots and clocked 12-lakh flying hours.

Support till 2019
K Naresh Babu, managing director, HAL, Bangalore Complex, said. “HAL’s indigenously built Kiran aircraft, which has been the mainstay of the IAF for the past fifty years, would continue to be maintained for the next three to four years. We will extend our support till 2019,” Babu said.

The Kiran Mk II is all set to be replaced by the British Hawk Advanced Trainer Aircraft.

The event also coincided with the handing over of the 75th Hawk aircraft to IAF.
The aircraft is presently being produced at HAL under licence from BAE System, the UK.

The first aircraft was handed over to IAF on August 2008.

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