All You Need to Know About ‘Made in India’ Tejas Aircraft

Work on the Tejas LCAs started in the 1980s under the Indira Gandhi government.

Updated
India
3 min read

(This article was first published on 1 July, 2016 and is being republished from The Quint’s archives in the backdrop of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on 13 January, approving the procurement of 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) at a cost of about Rs 48,000 crore.)

After a wait of over three decades, the Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted Tejas, a homegrown fighter jet, on 1 July, 2016.

The first squadron of Tejas aircraft is christened ‘Flying Daggers 45’ of the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

The LCA squadron induction ceremony was held at the Aircraft System Testing Establishment in Bengaluru in the presence of Air Marshal Jasbir Walia.

The Quint brings to you all that you need to know about the Tejas LCA, which is widely believed to be far superior to Pakistan’s JF-17 built jointly with China.

Replacement For Ageing Fleet of MIG-21s

While the idea to have an indigenous fighter aircraft was conceptualised in the 1970s, actual work started on the aircraft only in the 1980s and the first flight took place in January 2001.

The Tejas development program under the Indira Gandhi regime was started primarily to replace the expensive and ageing MIG-21 LCA fighters.

The Tejas program with the induction of next generation Tejas 1 aircraft will replace the MiG-21s which have been the primary LCAs of the Indian Airforce.



The first squadron of the homegrown Tejas will be christened as ‘Flying Daggers 45’. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://gallery.tejas.gov.in/Gallery/Calendar-2015/i-pKQHMCL/A"><i>ADA/Dev Rana</i></a>)
The first squadron of the homegrown Tejas will be christened as ‘Flying Daggers 45’. (Photo Courtesy: ADA/Dev Rana)

IAF to Induct a Total of 120 Tejas Aircraft

In the first stage of inductions, 20 Tejas aircraft were commissioned under the “Initial Operational Clearance” plan while another 20 would be inducted later with Beyond Visual Range Missile (BVR) and some other features.

IAF in the second stage plans to induct over 80 aircraft with better specifications known as Tejas 1A.

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.

Tejas claims to have a brilliant  safety record never registered by any fighter jet from around the globe. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://gallery.tejas.gov.in/Gallery/Tejas-winter-trials-at-leh/i-bwL6PQn/A"><i>ADA/Rana</i></a>)
Tejas claims to have a brilliant safety record never registered by any fighter jet from around the globe. (Photo Courtesy: ADA/Rana)

Tejas’ Brilliant Safety Record

Tejas according to experts is considered to be an excellent aircraft when it comes to maneuverability and safety. IAF officials swear by its “proven” airworthiness and “superb safety record”.

It is also claimed to have registered a brilliant safety record unmatched by any fighter jet from around the globe.

In a testament to Tejas’ safety record, not a single Tejas fighter jet has been lost to an accident during its extensive flight tests during 3,000 hours of sorties.

During its 3,000 hours of sorties in the development phase, the LCA registered more than 2,500 hours of exceptionally clean flights.
Senior IAF Official
Tejas Naval Version - LCA NP-1 completed its maiden flight as part of the carrier compatibility tests at the shore-based test facility in Goa on 20th December 2014. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://gallery.tejas.gov.in/Gallery/LCA-NP-2-Night-Trials/i-fkzxHwZ/A"><i>ADA/Rana</i></a>)
Tejas Naval Version - LCA NP-1 completed its maiden flight as part of the carrier compatibility tests at the shore-based test facility in Goa on 20th December 2014. (Photo Courtesy: ADA/Rana)

Specifications to Match the Best LCAs from Around the World

Tejas, jointly developed by Aeronautical Development Agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited according to IAF’s claims is the smallest lightweight, multi-role, single-engine tactical fighter aircraft in the world.

It will be developed in single-seat fighter and twin seat trainer variants for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.

Tejas’ aerodynamic configuration is optimised for manoeuvrability and agility. It comes equipped with a highly reliable quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system, and modern air-to-air missiles to attack enemy jets, and state-of-the-art laser designator and targeting systems to effectively lock on to ground targets.

The Tejas employs composite materials for up to 45 percent of its airframe, making it both lighter and stronger at the same time compared to majorly metal designs employed in contemporary aircraft of its class.

(With PTI and IANS Inputs.)

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

Published: 
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!