Tejas, India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), has made its debut at the 68th Republic Day parade – and it’s a proud moment for all! Three Tejas aircraft participated in the fly-past, flying at a height of 300 m from ground in ‘Vic’ formation. The LCA Tejas is a single engine aircraft that was inducted into the Indian Air Force in mid-2016 after years of rigorous trials. Designed and developed by DRDO, ADA and HAL, the Tejas is said to be a highly manoeuvrable aircraft. Tejas also happens to be the first light combat aircraft with the ‘Made in India’ tag.
Tejas is perhaps the world’s smallest lightweight, multi-role single-engine tactical fighter aircraft. We take a look at 10 special facts about the multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft:
1. The Tejas can carry air-to-surface, air-to-air and a plethora of precision guided and standoff weaponry. The combat aircraft is equipped with long range beyond visual range weapons, highly agile high off-boresight missiles.
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2. The LCA has a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system. According to HAL this enhances the ease of handling by the pilot. The aircraft has intentionally been made longitudinally unstable. This feature allows the Tejas to have enhanced manoeuvrability.
3. According to HAL, the aircraft with delta wing is designed for air combat and ‘offensive air support’. ‘Reconnaissance’ and ‘anti-ship’ are its secondary roles.
4. The Tejas has been made using advanced composites in the airframe. This gives the LCA a “high strength to weight ratio”, long fatigue life and low radar signatures.
5. 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.
6. 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. The autopilot feature helps the pilot to do more mission critical activities, without being concerned about Tejas departing from its flight path.
7. The major mechanical system includes microprocessor controlled brake management system, nose wheel steering system, environment control system, fuel system, landing gear system, secondary power system, hydraulic system, life support system, escape system.
8. IAF has a depleting fighter aircraft strength, and while Tejas has been designed for only light combat, it will nevertheless provide a much-needed boost to the air force.
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9. Incidentally, Tejas has also 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.
10. Tejas has been developed in multiple variants – single-seat fighter and twin seat trainer variants – for IAF and Indian Navy. The Tejas for Indian Navy and has been test flown to check its operation capability from aircraft carriers.