Two indigenously developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft were on Friday (1 July, 2016) formally inducted into the Indian Air Force. Tejas is the first advance Fly-by-wire (FBW) fighter aircraft designed, developed and manufactured in India. Conceived as a MiG-21 replacement, the aircraft has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and produced by HAL. It is the first squadron of home-grown Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. The Tejas is a fourth-generation; lightweight, multi-role supersonic single-engine aircraft designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with India’s largest defence PSU, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). State-run HAL handed over the first two Tejas aircraft to IAF which will make up the ‘Flying Daggers’ 45, the name of the first squadron of the LCA.
Tejas Features and Specifications
- The quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system: This ensures acceptable handling qualities while ensuring adequate safety throughout the flight envelope.
- It is perhaps the world’s smallest lightweight, multi-role single engine tactical fighter aircraft. As a single engined, multi-role supersonic fighter, it weighs 8.5 tonnes and can carry three tonnes of weapons.
- Glass cockpit open architecture, which compliments piloting.
- Multi Mode Weapon multirole capability, which can fire laser guided bombs.
- Can fly without telementary suppor.
- 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.
- It can help carry out air superiority and offensive air support missions, forward air field operations, all weather multi role operations, electronic counter measures and night flying operations.
- It is capable of flying non-stop to destinations over 1700 km away and its Radius of Action is up to 500 km depending upon the nature and duration of actual combat.
Limitations of Tejas
- It has limitation in the sense that it is a light combatant.
- It cannot go into deep penetration. It needs more twin-engine fighters for deep penetration
- It is only good for dogfights in your own sky or to degrade the opponent Army’s command posts.
About Aeronautical Development Agency and HAL
- The Aeronautical Development Agency of India’s Ministry of Defence was established at Bangalore, in 1984 to oversee the development of the nation’s Light Combat Aircraft programme.
- HAL is the principal partner in LCA Programme with participation of DRDO & CSIR Laboratories, Public & Private sector industries and academic institutions.
The aircraft was named ‘Tejas’ (meaning radiance in Sanskrit) by Atal Bihari Vajpayee as prime minister.