February 22, 2024
The MarkII Prototype
HAL HJT-16 Kiran [U-784] is the prototype of the Mark II version. The Kiran can be termed as a highly sucessful Primary Jet trainer aircraft.

The HAL HJT-16 Kiran was the first jet trainer designed and manufactured by HAL. It forms the backbone of the training fleet of the Indian air force and is an aircraft in the same class as the BAC Jet Provost. The Kiran was manufactured in three versions, the basic Mk 1, the Mk 1 A with two hardpoints and the Mk II with two internal machine guns and four hardpoints. More than 200 of these aircraft have been built to date with about 170 of them being Mk 1s and 1As.

The aircraft differed from the Mark I primarily in having two machine guns in the nose and a small fin underneath the nose to counter the ‘invisible yaw’ phenomenon. Click to Enlarge

U-784 is the aircraft on display at the HAL museum. This aircraft was the Mk II prototype and is believed never to have seen service with the IAF in its Mk II role. The aircraft was the first to sport the distinctive fin under the nose and to carry internal 7.62mm Machine guns in the nose. The aircraft was also up-engined with a derated Orpheus instead of the original Viper of the Mk I.

Click to Enlarge Close up of the nose portion reveals the barrel of the 7.62 mm Machine gun sticking out of the gun port in the nose.

U-784 also sports the re-designed jet pipe in the tail, which was different from the Mk I, mainly because of the change in the engine. No details of the aircraft are known. The aircraft was also one of those displayed at the Aero Fete 1999. The aircraft sports both the ejection seats and is externally complete in all details. There are doubts, however on the undercarraige of this particular example. It looked like a non-functioning mockup-type gear, but we could be wrong.

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge
U-784’s side profiles shows the clean lines of the Kiran. The picture on the right illustrates the redesigned Jet pipe to accomodate the more powerful derated Orpheus Turbo-Jet. The Undercarraige of this particular example appeared to be non-functional in appearance.

The second prototype of the original Kiran is on display at the Air Force Academy. Its a coincidence that the second example of a Kiran preserved for posterity is also a ‘prototype’ aircraft in its own regard. We could not help but wish that one day both the prototypes would be preserved at the same location.

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