The Tejas fighter demonstrated the prowess to attack ground-based targets by a simulated laser-guided bomb along with manoeuvring capability in close combat situations.
Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, the indigenous supersonic fourth-generation fighter, will form the backbone of the Indian Air Force (IAF) for the next several years to come. IAF has already inducted the Tejas into the No. 45 Squadron ‘The Flying Daggers’ which is based at Sulur Air Force Station at Kangayampalayam in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) T Suvarna Raju, who flew the twin seat variant of Tejas piloted by Chief Test Pilot Group Captain KK Venugopal from HAL Airport in Bangalore on Wednesday, called it a wonderful fighting machine.
“In a thrilling set of manoeuvres, the aircraft climbed to 30,000 feet and accelerated to supersonic speed of 1.1 Mach. This was followed by a simulated launch of Beyond Visual Range missile on a target of opportunity. It is a wonderful flying machine, capable of being the backbone of IAF combat power in the years to come,” said Raju after the sortie.
The fighter demonstrated the prowess to attack ground-based targets by a simulated laser-guided bomb along with manoeuvring capability in close combat situations. The landing was carried out simulating low visibility conditions using the ‘automatic approach’ mode of the aircraft.
IAF will get the advanced Tejas Mk1A fighters with Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, Self-Protection Jammer (SPJ) and Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) capabilities. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had in late 2017 cleared the acquisition of 83 LCA Tejas Mk1A aircraft and the HAL has also ramped up the production of the jet from eight per year to 16.
The 83 Tejas Mk1A will come for Rs 50,000 crore and help the IAF which has been struggling with the depleting number of fighter squadrons.
India has also joined the select club of US, Europe, Russia and China having the capability of Deck Landing of fighter aircraft. The LCA Tejas Naval Prototype 2 (NP2), piloted by Captain Shivnath Dahiya safely executed the first contact of the arrestor hook system with Arresting wire at moderate taxi-in speeds on location at the Shore Based Test Facility, INS Hansa, Goa on August 2.