The Indian Navy has decommissioned half of its HAL HJT-16 Kiran jet aircraft, basing its intermediate and advanced jet training now mostly on the BAE Systems Hawk Mk 132.
The nine remaining Navy Kirans left Indian Naval Station Hansa recently, Indian sources confirmed. The aircraft will join the Kiran fleet of the Air Force, which has such a substantial shortage of intermediate jet trainers that it earlier disbanded the Surya Kiran display team in 2011 and transferred the jets and the pilots to regular training units. The Indian Air Force flies the Kirans from Bidar, Dundigal, Hakimpet and Tambaram Air Force Stations.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) built 190 Kirans, with about 80 still active within the Air Force before the transfer of the nine Navy aircraft. The other eleven Kirans the Indian Navy still has on strength, according to our data, are likely to be transferred to the Air Force too.
The Indian Air Force is desperately waiting for the new HAL HJT-36 Sitara jet trainer to arrive, but that program is severely delayed.
2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: An Indian Air Force HJT-16 Kiran of the disbanded display team at the Aero India 2007 airshow (Image (CC) Premshree Pillal)