Tejas inducted by IAF: From specifications and weapons to variants – all you want to know about the Light Combat Aircraft

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Updated: Jul 01, 2016 3:24 PM

Tejas has been inducted into IAF and it's a historic milestone, not only for the air force, but also for India's indigenous defence industry.

LCA Tejas will be put into combat role by the IAF as early as 2017, and today HAL has handed over two aircraft to the air force. (ADA Photo)LCA Tejas will be put into combat role by the IAF as early as 2017, and today HAL has handed over two aircraft to the air force. (ADA Photo)

Tejas has been inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) and it’s a historic milestone, not only for the air force, but also for India’s indigenous defence industry.

HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited), DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency) are the key state-run defence companies that are behind the design and development of this Light Combat Aircraft.

LCA Tejas will be put into combat role by the IAF as early as 2017, and today HAL has handed over two aircraft to the air force. With this IAF has raised the first squadron of Tejas – ‘Flying Daggers’ 45.

Also check: Tejas inducted by IAF: 10 special facts and stunning images of the LCA

From drawing board to induction, Tejas has had a several decades long journey, and many have questioned whether the aircraft is up to date to meet IAF’s multiple requirements. But HAL and DRDO have always maintained that the technology in Tejas will not go obsolete for quite some years, and in May this year IAF chief Arup Raha also declared the LCA “good for induction.”

What makes Tejas special? What are its specifications and salient features? FE Online gives you a low down:

The combat aircraft uses fourth generation technologies and has intentionally been made longitudinally unstable to enhance manoeuvrability. “is an aerodynamically unstable tailless compound delta-wing configuration, optimised primarily for manoeuvrability and agility, claim its makers.

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Fly-by-wire:

Tejas boasts of a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system meant to ease handling by the pilot. The digital flight control computer receives signals from a variety of sensors and pilot control stick inputs.

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Glass cockpit:

The Tejas has a ‘glass cockpit’ which displays ‘real-time’ information to the pilot. “This simplifies aircraft operation and navigation and allows pilots to focus only on the most pertinent information,” says ADA.

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Multi-role radar:

The multi-role radar on Tejas – which was developed as Indian–Israeli venture – is meant to facilitate all weather use of a variety of air-to-air and air-to-surface weaponry. It is the primary targeting sensor on the LCA.

 

Weapons:

Tejas is designed to carry air-to-air, air-to-surface, precision guided and standoff weaponry. Tejas can carry long-range beyond visual range weapons. According to ADA, Tejas can fire “highly agile high off-boresight missiles” to tackle any close combat threat.

Air to ground munitions and and attack system allow it to prosecute surface targets over land or at sea.

Engine:

Tejas’ engine is imported from GE, a fact that is seen as a major drawback to the indigenous drive. GE’s engine had to be used after the indeigenous Kaveri failed. GE’s F404-GE-IN20 engine has a maximum weight of 1,035 kg. Dimensions are; Diameter 890 mm, Length 3.9 m.

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Open Architecture Computer:

Open Architecture Computer (OAC) is designed based on open system interface standards, which provides interoperability, scalability, and portability, says ADA> ADA claims that this OAC design will allow the designers to continuously adapt and upgrade Tejas to meet the challenges of modern warfare.

Variants:

Tejas has been developed in multiple variants – single-seat fighter and twin seat trainer variants – for IAF and Indian Navy. Tejas is being inducted into the IAF after being years decades into making. IAF plans to start using it in combat roles by 2017. Meanwhile, Swedish defence major Saab is in talks with HAL for helping India make the next generation version of the LCA Tejas.

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Other specifications:

Tejas uses composite materials for up to 45% of its airframe and this helps make the light combat aircraft lighter and stronger. Composite materials have been used for the fuselage (doors and skins), wings (skin, spars and ribs), elevons, tailfin, rudder, air brakes and landing gear doors. According to ADA, LCA’s percentage use of composites is one of the highest among contemporary aircraft of its class.

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The autopilot feature helps the pilot to do more mission critical activities, without being concerned about Tejas departing from its flight path.

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