HAL HJT-36 Sitara Intermediate Jet Trainer Aircraft (IJT),Indian Armed Forces


HAL HJT-36 Sitara Intermediate Jet Trainer Aircraft (IJT),Indian Armed Forces

The HAL HJT-36 Sitara is a subsonic intermediate jet trainer aircraft developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. The concept was initially developed as a successor to the successful Kiran trainer for the Indian Air Force and Navy. HAL was awarded a contract in 1999 by the government of the Republic of India for the completion of development, testing and certification of two prototype IJT aircraft.The HJT-36 will replace the HAL HJT-16 Kiran as the Stage-2 trainer for the two forces.

The Sitara is a conventional jet trainer with low swept wings, tandem cockpit and small air intakes for the engine on either side of its fuselage.

In February 2003, a contract for an initial 16 trainers for the Indian Air Force was placed. An Indian Air Force demand for 200 to 250 aircraft is envisaged with a market potential for higher numbers. Two prototype aircraft have been built. It entered limited series production by 2010, final operational clearance is expected in 2015.There are total 6 built till now.


THE HJT-36 holds origins in a 1997 initiative which produced a contract for two prototypes IJT aircraft in 1999. The first and second prototypes of the HJT-36, labelled PT-1 and PT-2, flew on 7 March 2003 and in March 2004, respectively.Since then,the program has been met with several delays and high profile incidences;like the SNECMA Turbomeca Larzac engine was replaced by NPO Saturn Al-551 because of thrust factor later produce more thrust as compared to former.

The Indian Air Force,however,remained steadfast on the product and eventually requested 73 of the type.After over 280 test flights, the aircraft entered limited series production in 2009 for the first 12 aircraft to be delivered to the Air Force. As of 13 March 2013 the contract for 12 LSP and 73 Full Rate production aircraft is delayed till 2014.On December 2013, HAL declared that Sitara was ‘weeks’ from certification.

Full rate production was itself delayed and final operational clearance is done by 2014. All efforts are being made to achieve FOC by December 2014. Production of aircraft will commence immediately thereafter. However the stall cannot be tested until HAL redesigns the entire aircraft to correct its “inherent asymmetry”. BAE was consulted on certain design changes. Afterwards the design was put to mathematical and wind tunnel tests. The modified aircraft is expected to complete the spin tests in September 2015 and the production of 85 aircraft for the Indian Air Force to begin.

HAL HJT-36 Sitara Intermediate Jet Trainer Aircraft (IJT),Indian Armed Forces-Design

The aircraft is of light alloy and composite construction, using a conventional low wing design with a sweptback wing of 9.8m span and 18° leading edge sweepback.About a quarter of the aircraft’s line replaceable units are common with the HAL Tejas trainer aircraft.

The HJT-36 Sitara Trainer has a length of 10.91 m,wingspan of 10.00 m and height of 4.13 m.The crew included 2 students and a instructor.

The aircraft is fitted with hydraulically retractable tricycle-type landing gear. The single-wheeled main units retract inward and the twin nose wheel unit retracts forward.HAL HJT-36 Sitara Intermediate Jet Trainer Aircraft (IJT),Indian Armed Forces

Cockpit of HJT-36 Sitara

The cockpit uses a conventional tandem two-seat configuration with the trainee pilot forward and the instructor in the raised seat to the rear. The single-piece canopy gives the pilots good, all-round vision. The seats are lightweight zero-zero ejection seats, model K-36LT manufactured by Zvesda. The pilots have both conventional and manual flight controls.

The cockpit layout conforms to the style of current-generation combat aircraft. The cockpits are equipped with active matrix liquid crystal displays supplied by Thales. The instructor’s station in the rear cockpit has a data entry display panel.


The aircraft has a full glass cockpit and digital avionics.The HJT 36-sitara is integrated with modern avionics which includes open systems architecture mission computer, an attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) and air data computers.It is also equipped with  a head-up display and head-up display repeater unit supplied by Elop. The aircraft has cockpit communications and dual VHF and UHF communications.

HAL HJT-36 Sitara Intermediate Jet Trainer Aircraft (IJT),Indian Armed Forces

Engine and Performance

The HJT-36 Sitara aircraft is powered by 1x NPO Saturn Al-551 non-after burning turbofan engine that is capable of producing 1760 kgf of thrust.The maximum take-off weight of aircraft is 4600 kg.The engine is installed in the rear section  of the fuselage and fitted with a bifurcated air intake. The aircraft carries 1,150l, 917kg of usable fuel in the fuselage and wing tanks.

The aircraft is fitted with a 9kW starter generator and two nickel cadmium 43Ah batteries.

The HJT-36 Sitara can cruise at maximum speed of Mach 0.80 (1000 km/h).It has range of 1000 km and service ceiling of 9000 m.The maximum dive speed of the aircraft is 950 km/h and Endurance is 3 hours.


The aircraft has five external hardpoints for carrying weapon systems. There is one centreline hardpoint of 12.7 mm under the fuselage and two weapon pylons of 57 mm under each wing for carrying rocket and gun pods and bombs.

Check out this video of HAL HJT-36 Sitara Intermediate Jet Trainer Aircraft (IJT),Indian Armed Forces


Check out All the Trainer Aircrafts made indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL),India.

1 Comment
  1. The modified aircraft is expected to complete the spin tests in September 2015 and the production of 85 aircraft for the Indian Air Force to begin. its 2017 still the plane not flying.

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