Tejas is all set to be put in a combat role by the Indian Air Force (IAF), as early as next year. Two LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) Tejas will be handed over to HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) on July 1, suggest reports.
These Tejas aircraft will make up the ‘Flying Daggers’ 45, the name of the first squadron of the LCA which will be based in Bangalore for the first two years before being moved to Sulur in Tamil Nadu.
Last month, IAF chief Arup Raha had his first sortie in the Tejas, after which he called it a “good aircraft for induction”. “It is my first sortie in Tejas, it is a good aircraft for induction into IAF operations,” Raha said.
Raha flew the indigenously designed and produced LCA Tejas for about 30 minutes at the HAL airport.
We take a look at 10 facts about the LCA Tejas for IAF:
1) Tejas is a single engined, light weight, highly agile, multi-role supersonic fighter. It has been in making for several years now and has been in news time and again for the delay in its roll out.
2) It is perhaps the world’s smallest lightweight, multi-role single engine tactical fighter aircraft.
3) Tejas is equipped with a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system to ease handling by the pilot. It has intentionally been made longitudinally unstable to enhance manoeuvrability.
4) The IAF plans to induct over 80 aircraft with better specifications known as Tejas 1A. The upgraded version of Tejas, with Active Electrically Scanned Array Radar, Unified Electronic Warfare Suite, mid-air refuelling capacity and advanced beyond the vision range missiles, will cost between Rs 275 crore and Rs 300 crore.
5) Tejas has been co-developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency in cooperation with HAL to replace the IAF’s aging fleet of MiG-21 and MiG-23 aircraft.
6) India needs about 300 aircraft of the LCA, therefore to speed up induction of the ‘Tejas’, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has decided to upgrade the aircraft with over 40 modifications.
7) As per the production plan, six aircraft will be made this year (2015-16) and HAL will subsequently scale it up to eight and 16 aircraft per year. All squadrons of Tejas will be made up of 20 planes in total, including four in reserve. As per the plan, while 20 would be inducted under the “Initial Operational Clearance”, another 20 will be inducted later with Beyond Visual Range Missile (BVR) and some other features.
8) Asked how the aircraft fared in comparison to JF 17, jointly developed and built by Pakistan and China, the IAF has said it is “better”.
“It is a better one since it is mostly made of composite which makes it light and very agile. It also comes with smart ammunitions and bombs which help it to hit targets in a precise manner,” a source said.
9) Meanwhile, Swedish defence major Saab is in talks with HAL for helping India make the next generation version of the LCA Tejas. Saab India head and Chairman Jan Widerström told FE Online: HAL is now looking for sub-suppliers for major sub-systems like radar, EW (Electronic Warfare) system and stuff that would conclude the development of LCA MK 1A. We are in talks with HAL, we are offering the latest AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar to HAL for Tejas under the Make in India umbrella, meaning that we are willing to set up the production line and produce it here in India.
10) Tejas has caught the attention of foreign buyers with Sri Lanka and Egypt evincing interest in the indigenously built fighter jet. The two countries are interested in the current version of the Tejas and not the upgraded one which will be rolled out later. However, HAL is focusing on delivering the aircraft to the IAF first. Two things that go in favour of the Tejas are its lower cost and flying ability.
(With inputs from PTI)