Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has been given the nod to go ahead and develop India’s first Lead-in Fighter Trainer (LIFT) variant based on the Tejas Mk1 Trainer that can be used to train pilots after Stage-III training program so that the LIFT can be used to mimic any other platform like Rafale or Sukhoi-30MKI for the pilot to get a hang of the aircraft before he actually fly’s them in real when assigned a squadron after completion of his training.

LIFT can be loaded with the flying characteristics of the aircraft that the newbie pilots will be deputed to fly and the aircraft will behave like one so has to advance the training process of the pilot. HAL started working on the LIFT variant of the Tejas in 2018 and it was showcased in Aero India 2019 and in 2021 it was given go-ahead by the IAF for the development of the first LIFT variant.

HAL plans to field first LIFT Trainer with Advanced cockpit with Wide Area Displays(WAD) touchscreen to help IAF train fighter pilots better by 2023 and IAF plans to place separate orders for two squadrons worth of aircraft for the same. LIFT Trainer can also be used for combat missions so part of advance training will also involve live weapons firing training for the pilots. IAF already has placed orders for 18 Tejas Mk1 Trainers that will help in conversion training at the Squadron levels for existing pilots, LIFT will be used primarily to train new pilots.

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