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HAL Ajeet (Invincible)

India (1977)
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Origin: India
Year: 1977
Type: Lightweight Interceptor / Ground Attack / Advanced Trainer Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) - India
Production: 89
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service


The HAL Ajeet was a further evolution of the British Folland Gnat fighter by way of India.


Detailing the development and operational history of the HAL Ajeet (Invincible) Lightweight Interceptor / Ground Attack / Advanced Trainer Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 3/9/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Indian Air Force was a primary operator of the classic British Folland "Gnat", a swept-wing, subsonic lightweight fighter which also held inherent value as an advanced jet trainer. Nearly 450 of the type, debuting in 1959, were built and India stocked the line through eight total squadrons with 200 being built locally by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The first all-Indian Gnat saw a first-flight in May of 1962 though the IAF had been operating Gnats for some time now. The aircraft were used to good effect during the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971 in the fighter and ground-attack roles.

Despite the success of British Gnats in Indian service, the line was fraught with reliability issues and maintenance problems during its time aloft. The various wars only served to drive the point home further under wartime conditions and this led to a new IAF initiative which sought to improve upon the existing design through an indigenous venture under the name of "Ajeet" ("Invincible"). The resulting work produced essentially an all-new derivative of the original British warplane. The last two remaining Gnat production fighters were pulled from their lines and earmarked as prototypes for the growing program.

Among the changes instituted to the Gnat were new wings plumbed for fuel delivery ("wet wings"). Four underwing hardpoints were then added - two under each wing element. The control system, one of the problem points of the original Gnat, was wholly revised as were tail control surfaces for improved handling. The avionics fit was upgraded, a new Martin-Baker GF4 series ejection seat installed, and the undercarriage modified for the better - leaving the Ajeet with nothing more than 60% commonality of parts with the British Gnat.
With these changes in place, a prototype first took to the air on March 6th, 1975. The model was powered by a TJE HAL (Bristol Siddeley) "Orpheus" 701-01 turbojet engine of 4,500 lb thrust output. The second Ajeet prototype went airborne for the first time on November 5th, 1975. A development and trials process ensued to which the project culminated with a first flight of a production-quality airframe on September 30th, 1976. Operational service involving the type began in 1977 and covered fighter, interception, ground attack and advanced training roles.

As completed, the Ajeet featured a length of 29.7 feet, a wingspan of 22 feet and a height of 8 feet. Empty weight was 5,090 lb with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) nearing 9,200 lb. Outwardly, the series mimicked the Folland Gnat to a tee though its extra underwing hardpoints set it apart. Performance from the Orpheus engine provided a maximum speed of 715 miles per hour with a combat radius of 110 miles, and a service ceiling of 45,000 feet. Beyond its standard, fixed internal cannon arrangement of 2 x 30mm ADEN guns, the aircraft was cleared to carry conventional drop stores and rocket pods from its underwing hardpoints.

Despite the investment, the Ajeet was destined to never see combat action against neighboring Pakistan. It was withdrawn in 1991 after eighty-nine total aircraft had been built, ten of these being former Gnats upgraded to the Ajeet standard. As such, just three major production variants of the Ajeet were witnessed beginning with the Ajeet Mk.1 - originally designated by the IAF as the "Gnat Mk.2". These were the single-seat ground-attack / interceptor forms. The Ajeet Mk.2 followed as a dedicated two-seat advanced jet trainer.

Ajeets stocked the inventory of No.2 Squadron of the IAF.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (715mph).

    Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the HAL Ajeet's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
89
89


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Global Operators:
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the HAL Ajeet model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
29.69 ft


Meters
9.05 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
22.15 ft


Meters
6.75 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
8.04 ft


Meters
2.45 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
5,071 lb


Kilograms
2,300 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
9,204 lb


Kilograms
4,175 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x TJE HAL (Bristol Siddeley) Orpheus 701-01 turbojet engine developing 4,500 lb thrust.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
715 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
1,150 kph


Knots
621 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,087 mi


Kilometers
1,750 km


Nautical Miles
945 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
45,013 ft


Meters
13,720 m


Miles
8.53 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
6,560 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
1,999 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (4):

STANDARD, FIXED:
2 x 30mm ADEN internal cannons

OPTIONAL:
Conventional drop stores across four underwing hardpoints (two per wing).
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Gnat Mk.2 - Original IAF designation for Ajeet Mk.1 models.
• Ajeet Mk.1 - Single-seat attacker/interceptor
• Ajeet Mk.2 - Two-seat trainer