SOURCE: MANJUNATH REDDY/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG With Aero India 2019, just around the corner HAL CMD R Madhavan has said that company will be showcasing simulator of Supersonic Omni Role Trainer Aircraft (SPORT) which company believes will lead to the development of a 4++ Generation Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) which is usually used to train after Stage-III training which mostly involves Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT),interestingly it’s not the first time HAL has proposed development of LIFT jets and in fact its first proposal was HJT 39, Combat Air Trainer (CAT) which was showcased first in AeroIndia 2015. HJT 39 was based on HJT-36 design also shared air-frame and came with same engines in twin-engine configuration along with avionics like Fly-by-Wire (FBW), Multi-Functional Dials (MFD), Head-Up Display (HUD) and Up Front Control Panel (UFCP) and several others common avionics and turnaround time for the project was just over 3 years once funding was cleared but the proposal was rejected by IAF back then and but 14 years down the line, MOD should be thanking its stars because HAL still hasn’t completed the HJT-36 program but announcement of SPORT LIFT should raise some eyebrows in MOD and IAF. For the starters, IAF had not requested HAL to develop a Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) back in 2005 nor it has asked this time around, It is speculated that proposed LIFT aircraft which will actually be tone downed LCA-Tejas Trainer customized for training pilots and could come with a secondary role as combat support aircraft, if SPORT does turn out to be a customized Tejas Trainer then we can only hope HAL has some sort of backing from the IAF or some countries which are keen to procure them. We all know that 2 years back HAL had self-funded development of Hawk-i with indigenous Real Time Operating System (RTOS), Embedded virtual training system (EVTS), new sub-systems modifications and management of avionics systems and several changes which were presented to IAF but still not has received any positive response from the IAF for up-gradation of Hawk Mk132 trainer aircraft . We can all hope that HAL has done some market research before it embarked on the developmental plans to develop a SPORT LIFT aircraft and not waste more money of Taxpayers in developing concepts and prototypes which have been not asked by its lone customer IAF.
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