New Delhi: Due to “inordinate delay” in Intermediate Jet Trainer programme of the HAL, the IAF has initiated action to look for alternatives and extending the technical life of the Kiran trainer aircraft, Rajya Sabha was informed today.

“In order to meet the emergent situation due to inordinate delay in the IJT project, the IAF has already initiated the process for extending the technical life of the Kiran aircraft. The IAF has also initiated action for looking for alternate options for the IJT,” Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said in a written reply.

The HAL is developing the IJT aircraft but it has been delayed for several years due to various reasons.

“HAL which has developing the IJT as replacement for the Kiran aircraft, has not so far been able to resolve critical wing and airframe design and development issues related to stall and spin,” the minister said.

Jaitley said the Kiran aircraft will complete “their technical life over the next couple of years”.

On the delayed projects of the DRDO, he said the indigenous LCA aircraft will be completed by March 2015 instead of the December 2008 deadline set earlier.

The minister said the naval LCA project is also delayed and as of now its probable date of completion would be in December 2014 as against the target of March 2010.

Jaitley said that projects such as LR-SAM, Helina anti-tank missile, Astra air-to-air missile, airborne early warning aircraft and Kaveri engine programmes were also delayed.

To another query, he said the Defence Ministry was examining some complaints “alleging irregularities in the technical evaluation and the procurement process” for the acquisition of the Active Towed Array Sonar for the Navy.

On the accident involving the INS Tarkash frigate in Mumbai last year in December, the minister said the matter was under investigation of the Navy headquarters.

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