Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT)

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A timeline, Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer: March 2004-July 2010; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

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June 2015: Hawk trainer crash

The Times of India, Jul 06 2015

Rajat Pandit

HAL production under lens after Hawk trainer crash

Production qual ity of the country's only air craft manufacturer, defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), is once again under the scanner after the crash of a Hawk advanced jet trainer (AJT) in June 2015. Sources said “quill-shaf failure“ in the engine has emerged as the prime reason behind the crash of the twin seat Hawk AJT, which wen down in Odisha while on a training sortie from the Ka laikunda airbase in Wes Bengal on June 3. The two pi lots managed to eject safely .

HAL is tasked with manu facturing 99 of the 123 Hawks ordered from BAE Systems with transfer of technology , in the overall AJT project already worth over Rs 16,000 crore til now. But the entire endeavor has been marred by politico bureaucratic apathy , poor long term planning, flawed multiple contracts and delayed delivery schedules. As it is, the crash of an AJT, which is meant to be a robust fail-safe flying machine to train rookie pilots in the in tricacies of combat flying, is startling. But what has further raised eyebrows is that the ill fated Hawk, with a Rolls-Royce engine, had clocked just about 1,050 hours of flying.

HAL, now faced with losing its monopoly in the domestic aviation sector, and its primary customer, the IAF , have not had the best of relations over the years. But observers say the two urgently need to resolve all outstanding issues dogging the country's air combat power.

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