HAL HJT-16 Kiran

Accommodation: Two side-by-side seating.

Weights: Basic Empty - 2965 kg (6540 lbs)
.............Maximum Takeoff - 4950 kg (10,913 lbs)

Engine: One HAL license-built RR Orpheus 701-01 turbojet in the Mk.2 variant, producing 18.4kN (4130 lbs.) thrust.

Performance: Maximum speed at sea level 704 km/h (380 knots)
...................Economical cruising speed 417 km/h (225 knots)
...................Maximum cruising speed at 15,000 feet - 620 km/h (335 knots)

Maximum Initial Rate of Climb: 5250 feet/minute.

Service Ceiling: 39,375 feet.

Range: With standard fuel - 615 km (332 nautical miles)

Avionics: None.

Armament: Two 7.62mm Aden guns fitted in the nose. Four under wing pylons can carry rocket pods, 250 kg practice bombs or fuel tanks.

Self Defence: None.

Comments: No.551 Squadron has an 'A' Flight which consists of twelve HJT-16 Kiran Mk.II jet trainers. Six red tailed Mk.2s serve in the basic training role and six blue tailed Mk.2s served in the armament training role. The latter has now been repainted in an all blue & white scheme and serves as the Indian Navy's Sagar Pawan aerobatic display team. It however rarely performs in public displays, as these aircraft primarily cater to their armament training role for trainees.

No.551 Squadron also had a 'B' Flight, known as SHOFTU (Sea Harrier Operational Flying Training Unit), dedicated to Sea Harrier pilot conversion & standardization, borrowing aircraft from No.300 Squadron when needed. SHOFTU was disbanded recently and it's elements have been integrated into the other squadrons. No.551 Squadron also serves as a miscellaneous Fleet Requirement Unit (FRU), in addition to its training duties.

Image © Kapil ChandniImage © Kapil ChandniImage © Simon WatsonHJT-16 Kiran Mk.2s of No.551 'A' Flight in a tight formation. Image © Vayu Aerospace Review via Pawan KaulAn HJT-16 Kiran Mk.2 [IN 065] comes in to land after a training sortie. Image © Simon WatsonAn HJT-16 Kiran Mk.2 [IN 072] fitted with two underwing drop tanks. Image © Simon WatsonAn HJT-16 Kiran Mk.2 [IN 064] at INS Hansa in Dabolim, Goa. The insignia of No.551 Squadron can be seen on the tail, while the insignia of No.300 Squadron can be seen on a hangar door in the background. Image © Pushpinder Singh Chopra via Anandeep PannuA HJT-16 Kiran Mk.2 [IN 075] being prepared for flight. The Mk.2 variant has full weapons capability with four under wing pylons. Image © Pushpinder Singh Chopra via Anandeep Pannu