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The Simulator Training Would Keep Increasing as Time Progresses, But Hands-on Training Cannot be Dispensed With
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command, Air Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja



Air Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja
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What are the current responsibilities of training command and what changes do you see taking place in the future?

The main responsibility of Training Command is to induct and train air warriors so as to be combat ready and physically and mentally fit to take on the responsibility of guarding the nations’ skies when they are posted to frontline operational squadrons of the Indian Air Force. It is our duty to ensure that these air warriors who are inducted from varied backgrounds and strata of society attain high standards of professionalism during their training. Going by the age old adage ‘We fight as we train’, this Command has the onerous task of determining the professional standard of the entire IAF. Besides the initial training, this Command is also responsible for various in-service training courses to orient air warriors at different service seniorities to suit the organisational requirements as they grow up in service. Some of these courses include trainees from Indian Army and Indian Navy. Thus we also contribute towards lateral training of our sister services and promote jointmanship amongst personnel of armed forces.

What is the status of HPT-32 within the IAF fleet currently and is it expected to resume flying duties or will it be phased out?

HPT-32 has served the IAF and contributed immensely to the training of our pilots for over 20 years. However, despite HAL’s best efforts to resolve certain design issues after a spate of accidents on HPT-32 fleet, we have not been able to achieve the requisite breakthroughs to prevent further accidents. The efforts are on to resolve these issues, its revival cannot be ascertained as on date, unless a comprehensive implementable solution is attained in the very near future.
 
The IAF has selected the Pilatus as its next basic trainer. When is it expected to be inducted and what are the improvements expected from its entering service with the IAF?

Pilatus has been selected after extensive trials and evaluation against other competitors due to its better role capability. Pilatus is expected to be inducted by 2013. Induction of this aircraft would fill the void created by the grounding of HPT-32 fleet. In addition, this ac not only has better performance capabilities as compared to its predecessor, it also can boast of superior avionics and other equipment. This would greatly enhance the quality of training imparted to ab-initio pilots wherein, they would be exposed to systems available in operational squadrons at a very early stage. This would put them in good stead when they are tasked to fly advanced aircraft of IAF. Considering the fact that IAF is going for modernisation of its operational fleets in a big way, induction of advanced trainers at all stages of training is a necessity and induction of Pilatus is a step in the right direction.

What is the status of HAL basic trainer and when does the IAF expect it to enter service?

HAL basic trainer proposal was initiated as a replacement to HPT 32 aircraft. However, currently the design engineers have not confirmed any proposal on the subject.

With the induction of state-of-the-art transports such as C-130J & C-17, what changes do you envisage with regards to training of transport crew?
 
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