Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) showcased its’s Supersonic Omni Role Trainer Aircraft (SpORT) a next-generation fighter trainer at Aero India 2019 earlier this year, has got attention of the Indian Air force and according to industry sources close to, IAF is now actively backing development of a prototype upon which more platforms can be ordered in near future.

The Proposed lead-in-fighter trainer (LIFT) built on the Light Combat Aircraft Twin-seater Trainer platform, is a fighter trainer which can help pilots of modern aircraft including the Rafale, MWF, Tejas Mk1A, and SU-30 MKi before they start flying actual aircraft. According to HAL, SPORT was conceived at the time to compete at the U.S. Air Force T-X Pilot Training Program but the proposal was never sent due to the non-existing platform for trials and low winning chances.

Group Captain HV Thakur who is Deputy chief test pilot with HAL and who also conceived SpORT, shared in his twitter account video seen above and also confirmed that the program is now moving towards the developmental stage but also cautioned that the program will remain in back-burner for the time being, till HAL completes Tejas Mk-1A program under which IAF has expressed its willingness to buy 83 upgraded aircrafts equipped with modern ELTA-2052 AESA Radar along with host of improvements and technological upgrades which will improve its operational capabilities .

According to IAF sources close to, IAF may commit to buy around 40 SPORT LIFT aircraft which at time of war can also be used as a fighter aircraft if HAL is able to deliver a product that it has promised. SPORT which once inducted will be part of the Stage-III pilot training program which will help simulate many operational capabilities like laser-guided bombs, cruise missiles, Swarm drones, Air-to-air missiles, Standoff weapons and control of Wing man aircraft.

SPORT will have open source mission computer which will allow instructors to mimic fighter aircraft which the trainee pilot will be flying when he is deputed to his regular squadron. HAL has taken upon its self to develop all the software related section of the SPORT which will help mimic fighter aircraft based on the requirement. Since ADA designed MWF-Tejas Mk2 will not have any trainer variant and limited availability of conversion trainers is the reason, why IAF is keen to have one single Trainer variant like SPORT which can be used to train new pilots who will be flying different aircraft.

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