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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to retire its ageing Kiran trainer aircraft from 2025 onwards and replace it with the Sitara intermediate jet trainer (IJT) developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) starting in 2026. According to sources familiar with the matter told idrw, HAL has assured the IAF that the IJT will complete all pending trials and meet the requirements for induction into the air force.

One of the key milestones in the development of the Sitara IJT was the successful completion of spin trials. Following major modifications to the rear tail section in 2019, the aircraft has demonstrated six spin turns, as mandated by the IAF. This achievement has instilled confidence in HAL and the IAF that the Sitara IJT is ready to progress to user trials.

To meet the IAF’s requirements, the Sitara IJT has undergone significant upgrades to its avionics systems. These upgrades ensure that the aircraft caters to the advanced training needs of IAF pilots. However, before commencing user trials, the IJT must-revalidate all developmental trials, considering the substantial changes made to the aircraft’s avionics and subsystems over time.

The IAF’s plan to retire the Kiran trainer aircraft from 2025 onwards aligns with the introduction of the Sitara IJT in 2026. This timeline allows for a seamless transition, ensuring that the IAF maintains its training capabilities without any operational gaps. The retirement of the Kiran and induction of the Sitara will enhance training effectiveness and prepare pilots for future advanced combat aircraft.

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