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India's First LCA 'Tejas' Handed over to IAF
Jan 20, 2015

32 years after the project was sanctioned, the first indigenously-built Tejas, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was handed over to the IAF on 17 January. The handover signals the start of a process of induction of the fighters being built at home under a project which has already cost the exchequer nearly Rs. 8,000 crore.

Some Facts

  • The entire project by the DRDO and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is estimated to cost over Rs. 30,000 crore.

  • The aircraft that has been handed over has got Initial Operational Clearance-II, which signifies that Tejas is airworthy in different conditions, sources said. The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) is expected by the year-end.

  • This version of the aircraft lacks the latest electronic warfare suite, which was integrated into one of the LCAs two weeks ago, mid-air refuelling and long-range missiles capabilities, among other things that the FOC-configuration aircraft will have.

  • The IOC-I was granted to the aircraft, being built by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), in January 2011.

  • The IOC-II was granted after the aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight on September 30 last year.

  • The sources said 20 aircraft will be built by 2017-2018, to make the first squadron of the aircrafts.


The LCA programme was initiated in 1983 to replace the ageing MiG-21s in IAF's combat fleet but has missed several deadlines due to various reasons.

  • HAL's LCA Project Group has been upgraded to a full- fledged division to look after production in a systematic way with more investments.

  • HAL has carried out thousands of sorties of the LCA and outstation flight trials at Leh, Jamnagar, Jaisalmer, Uttaralai, Gwalior, Pathankot and Goa for cold weather, armament and weapon deliveries, Multi Mode Radar (MMR), Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), hot weather and missile firing flight trials.

  • Tejas has also successfully demonstrated weapon delivery capability during trials at Jamnagar and Jaisalmer.

  • The Tejas single-seat, single-engine, lightweight, high-agility supersonic fighter aircraft has been undergoing flight trials in preparation for operational clearance, and  had flown more than 2,800 test flights up to speeds of Mach 1.4.

  • The Tejas light combat aircraft design and development programme is being led by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the Indian Department of Defence, with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the prime industrial contractor.

  • The first LCA Demonstrator I aircraft made a maiden flight in January 2001. The LCA Demonstrator II first flew in June 2002.

  • The second prototype vehicle (PV-II) made a maiden flight in December 2005 and the third in December 2006.

  • The Indian Government approved limited series production of 20 Tejas for the air force in April 2006.

  • First flight of the production aircraft was in April 2007.

  • The Tejas trainer variation took off on its first flight in November 2009.

  • The fourth limited series production aircraft (LSP-4) took its first flight in June 2010.

  • The LSP-5 platform undertook its maiden flight in November 2010.

  • The initial operational clearance (IOC) testing was completed in December 2010 and certification was approved in January 2011. The LSP-7 completed its maiden flight in March 2012.

Salient Features of Tejas

  • Tejas is the smallest, light weight, single engine, single seat, and supersonic, multirole, combat aircraft.

  • One of the best in its class in the world, its four variants, including combat, trainer and naval, are being developed for land and carrier borne operations.

  • The quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system ensures acceptable handling qualities while ensuring adequate safety throughout the flight envelope.

  • The advanced Glass cockpit open architecture system complements piloting.

  • Tejas has the Multi Mode Weapon multirole capability, can fire Laser Guided Bombs.

  • Tejas is capable of flying non-stop to destinations over 1700 km. away and its Radius of Action is up to 400 km. depending upon the nature and duration of actual combat.

  • Powered by GE-F404 Engine, Tejas has tailless compound delta configuration.

  • It is aerodynamically optimized for good transonic manoeuvres and low supersonic drag.

  • Tejas avionics has a unique built-in feature of monitoring health of on-board Systems and displaying appropriate warnings to the Pilot.

  • A number of software packages as well as design and analysis tools have been developed under Tejas Programme.

  • During the last one decade two Technology Demonstrators, four Prototype Vehicles and five Limited Series Production aircraft were produced.

  • The hot weather, cold weather, Sea level, high altitude conditions of the aircraft were successfully tested.

  • It has completed over 2000 flights.

  • The cost of each Tejas is around rupees 200 crores.

Tejas marks an important chapter in the annals of Indian defence industry towards self-reliance. The development also opens up an opportunity for India’s public and private sector to work in tandem to develop and produce world-class military systems of the highest quality.

 


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