Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has the capacity to produce eight Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas per annum, said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today. Earlier this month, the Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted the indigenous Tejas aircraft.
IAF raised the first squadron of Tejas with the induction of two LCA Tejas and plans to the aircraft in combat role as early as 2017. Manohar Parrikar in his reply also said that there is no fighter aircraft project which is pending for decades. According to Parrikar, Tejas will help partially meet IAF’s requirement of light weight fighter planes.
Tejas is said to be smallest lightweight, multi-role single-engine tactical fighter aircraft in the world. It is also highly agile and is a multi-role supersonic fighter. The LCA, which has been several years in the making, boasts of a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system.
HAL and DRDO have always maintained that the technology in Tejas will not go obsolete for quite some years. It has also intentionally been made longitudinally unstable. This is meant to enhance the aircraft’s maneuverability.
The combat aircraft uses fourth generation technologies. Incidentally, Tejas has also caught the attention of foreign buyers with Sri Lanka and Egypt evincing interest in the indigenously built fighter jet.
Tejas has been developed in multiple variants – single-seat fighter and twin seat trainer variants – for IAF and Indian Navy. Swedish defence major Saab is in talks with HAL for helping India make the next generation version of the LCA Tejas.