The Indian Navy is moving its nine Kiran trainer craft to the Air Force, which is facing shortage of intermediate jet trainers.
A senior Navy official said that the initial training takes place with the Air Force, furthermore the navy at this time has the Hawk advanced jet trainers. “So Kiran jets have been transferred out to the Air Force,” he added.
Naval aviators trained on the Kiran trainers will graduate to frontline fighter jets such as Sea Harriers and MiG-29 Ks.
The fleet of Kiran MK-II aircraft, which is based at INS Hansa of Goa, operated the Kiran MK-II trainer aircraft to train rookie pilots to later graduate onto more ophisticated aircraft like the Sea Harriers or the Mig-29K fighter jets.
INAS 551 conducts Naval Orientation and Flying courses for Indian Navy pilots.
While the Kiran trainers help in mid-level flying before trainees move on to the AJTs, the former are over 30 years old and are in need of urgent replacement.
The Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd developed HJT-36 Sitara intermediate jet trainer is facing technical issues. Moreover it has missed several deadlines of development, forcing IAF to disband its aerobatic team, Surya Kiran, and divert the planes for training. The lack of trainers has also led the IAF to reduce the flying hours of trainee pilots.
HJT-16 Kiran MK-II (Ray of Light) is an Indian two-seat basic jet trainer built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. HJT-16 Kiran first flew in the year 1964 and was inducted into the Indian Air Force in 1973.