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HAL HJT-36 Sitara (Star)


Intermediate Jet Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft (2024)


Aviation / Aerospace

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In development since 1999, the Indian Air Force and Navy are anxiously awaiting their new Intermediate Jet Trainer.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/25/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
The Indian military industry has worked towards breaking free of the reliance on foreign suppliers through indigenous designs - some proving successful, some not. When the time came to upgrade its fleet of intermediate jet trainers - this currently being the HAL Kiran of 1960s vintage - the Indian military establishment looked to HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) once more and this endeavor has produced the emerging HJT-36 "Sitara". While still in development as of March 2014, with certification expected sometime in 2014, the Sitara is showcased to become the next intermediate jet trainer for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy. The HJT-36 was originally planned to begin service in 2012.

The HJT-36 holds origins in a 1997 initiative which produced a contract for two prototypes in 1999. A first flight was recorded on March 7th, 2003. Since then, the program has been met with several delays and high profile incidences. The Indian Air Force, however, remained steadfast on the product and eventually requested 73 of the type. Full rate production was itself delayed and final operational clearance is now expected for December of 2014. Quantitative production is set to begin shortly thereafter. Several major revisions have since taken place to iron out deficiencies encountered in the original design.

The intermediate jet trainer is an important facet of pilot training for the Indian Air Force (and Navy). It is the essential "bridging if the gap" between basic training and advanced training and serves to educate incoming aviators on the nuances of the highly complex modern aircraft. Indeed, nearly half of all IAF crashes since 1970 have been attributed to pilot error and little else.

Design of the HJT-36 is highly conventional with student and instructor cockpits arranged in tandem. Both cockpits are given ejection seats as standard and sit behind a shallow and low nose cone while given a oversized canopy for excellent vision around the aircraft. The single engine installation is buried within the fuselage and exhausts through a small port under the tail. Aspiration is through two small, half-moon openings to either side of the aft cockpit. The empennage consists of a single vertical tail fin coupled with a pair of low-set horizontal planes. The wings are low-mounted at the fuselage sides with sweep along their leading edges and their tips being clipped. The undercarriage is a traditional tricycle arrangement with the main legs sporting single wheels and the nose leg of a dual-wheel design. All are wholly retractable.

The aircraft is powered by the Russian NPO Saturn AL-55I turbofan engine which supplies up to 4,550lbs of thrust while not featuring afterburn capability. Maximum speed is 620 miles per hour with a range out to 620 miles and service ceiling up to 30,000 feet.

Beyond the base intermediate trainer, the IAF is entertaining a light attack version which would feature support for rocket and gun pods as well as conventional drop bombs. There are five expected hardpoints including four underwing.

March 2003 - The HJT-36 prototype recorded its first flight on March 7th, 2003.

December 2013 - HAL announced that its HJT-36 was just weeks away from achieving certification.

February 2014 - The Indian Ministry of Defense reports that the HJT-36 program has logged in more than 800 test flights to date.

January 2014 - The Indian Air Force formally asked the Ministry of Defence to procure a foreign intermediate jet trainer due to the progress (or lack thereof) seen in the HJT-36 program. 2014 marks fifteen years since the HJT-36 program began.

March 2017 - The HJT-36 program continues to be delayed, particularly with unresolved stall and spin characteristics that are yet to be resolved.

April 2019 - The HJT-36, in a refined form, has flown in an effort to resolve ongoing flight issues.

November 2020 - After revision, the HJT-36 prototype has re-entered flight-testing concerning spin characteristics.

Specifications



Service Year
2024

Origin
India national flag graphic
India

Status
IN-DEVELOPMENT
Program in Progress.
Crew
2

Production
16
UNITS


Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) - India
National flag of India India (probable)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
Training (General)
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).
- Training (Advanced)
Dedicated advanced training platform for student pilots having graduated from basic flight training.


Length
36.1 ft
(11.00 m)
Width/Span
32.8 ft
(10.00 m)
Height
13.5 ft
(4.10 m)
MTOW
10,141 lb
(4,600 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base HAL HJT-36 Sitara (Star) production variant)
Installed: 1 x NPO Saturn AL-55I non-afterburning turbofan engine developing 4,500 lb of thrust.
Max Speed
528 mph
(850 kph | 459 kts)
Ceiling
29,528 ft
(9,000 m | 6 mi)
Range
621 mi
(1,000 km | 1,852 nm)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base HAL HJT-36 Sitara (Star) production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
OPTIONAL:
1 x 12.7mm heavy machine gun pod
4 x 57mm rocket pods underwing OR Conventional drop bombs.


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft machine gun pod
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 5


HJT-36 - Base Series Designation


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