Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) completed the first flight of the HJT-36 Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) on 7 March from its Bangalore factory.

The tandem two-seat aircraft was flown for 20min by Sqn Ldr Baldev Singh.

HAL was given the go-ahead for development in mid-1999 when it was awarded a contract to develop the IJT, build two prototypes and complete the flight-test programme.

The Indian air force and navy require over 200 HJT-36s to replace HALHJT-16 Kiran basic trainers. Deliveries are due to begin in 2005.

The aircraft is powered by a 3,825lb (17kN) Snecma Larzac 04H20 turbofan. "We are pleased with the successful first flight," says Jean-Luc Engerand, managing director Snecma military engines.

The Press Trust of India says the first aircraft is an aerodynamic prototype, and the second aircraft, which is due to fly in August, will be the first to be equipped with a full glass cockpit and digital avionics. Avionics will be based around an open-architecture mission computer and will include a head-up display (HUD) in the front cockpit, with a HUD repeater for the instructor. Avionics are to be supplied by French, German and Indian companies.

Source: Flight International