In the absence of an intermediate jet trainer, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will have to extend the life of ageing Kiran Mk-I trainers up to 2017-18 to prevent any disruption in the pilot training programme. “After the study of the fatigue life spectrum of Kiran Mk-I aircraft, the Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness (Aircraft) has recommended extension of total technical life of the aircraft. This will help IAF to utilise the fleet till 2017-18, though in gradually reducing numbers,” Defence Minister Mr A K Antony informed the Lok Sabha. Rookie pilots were trained on Kiran Mk 1/1A aircraft since 2009 in the wake of grounding of HPT-32 basic trainer fleet. Before the switch, Kiran was used for stage-II training at the IAF academy, Dundigal. The service now has new Pilatus basic trainer. But it is in no position to go back to its old training schedule of Stage-I and II flying in the absence of an intermediate jet trainer, which is being built by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the last 15 years. The IJT is planned to replace Kiran Mk-I. Due to repeated revisions in the timeline set for the initial operational clearance of IJT and considering the present state of the project regarding induction of the IJT in the IAF, it has been decided to extend the use of Kiran Mk-I, Mr Antony said.