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Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) - Variants

Natarajan, Director General, DRDO, and Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, said in August 2008 that "when we draw a road map, we see the fructification of these three taking us to a medium combat aircraft, a multi-role combat aircraft with fifth generation technologies, where there can be commonality of parts with LCA in avionics or radar, and eventually, 15 years from now, building an unmanned aerial combat vehicle [UACV]. So, if one looks at just this spectrum of vehicles, five in number, I see a good potential to build all together, about 1,000 aircraft, over a period of time. The LCA could be 400 in number for the IAF, 100 for the Navy; the trainer could be 150; the medium combat aircraft 250; and 100-150 for the UACVs."


The focus in this phase was on proof of concept. It entailed the development and testing of two technology demonstrator aircraft. These aircraft were called TD-1 and TD-2. The decision to move forward was to be taken after the successful completion of this phase. This would be followed by the production of additional prototype vehicles. There were teething issues during this phase and finally TD-1 flew on 04 January 2001 with Wing Commander Rajiv Kothiyal on the controls. The significance of this golden-day in the history of Indian aviation can be gauged by the fact that the last time an indigenous aircraft had got airborne was almost 40 years ago on 17 June 1961.

The LCA completed its first batch of tests in 12 flights instead of 15 - ahead of schedule - on June 2, 2001. There had been some delay in Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Project which is mainly due to lack of development experience, non-availability of ready infrastructure, foreign exchange crunch of 1992, sanctions imposed by USA in 1998 and technological complexities. The first technology demonstrator has flown on January 04, 2001 and successfully demonstrated to international experts during Aero India 2001. Further development was in progress for its timely induction in Indian Air Force.

The maiden flight of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Technology Demonstrator II was carried out at 1147 hrs in Bangalore June 6, 2002. The flight was successful and met all test parameters set for the flight. The flight lasted 28 minutes and was a significant landmark in the LCA project and marked its entry into the Flight Test Program. The purpose of flight test program is to validate a number of advanced technologies incorporated in the LCA. These include unstable configuration, Quadruplex fly-by-wire Digital Flight Control System, Integrated Avionics with glass cockpit, advanced composite materials for primary structure and a novel Utility Systems Mangement System.

Phase 2 - ADDITIONAL TESTING PHASE (PV-1, PV-2, PV-3 and PV-5)

This phase consisted of additional testing and development of systems using Prototype Vehicles which would lead to the development of the final variant that would join the IAF and the Indian Navy. The first Prototype Vehicle, PV-1 flew on 25 November 2003.

Limited Series Production LCA (LSP-1)

The first Limited Series Production LCA (LSP-1) made her first flight on 25 April 2007 and reached a speed of Mach 1.1 in the very first flight. By early 2008 there were two Technology Demonstrators (TDs), three Prototype Vehicles (PVs) and one LSP vehicle under-going flight trials. Facilities for the manufacture of eight aircraft under Limited Series Production (LSP) had been created at HAL, with the second aircraft of the LSP series set to take to the skies in 2008. An order for 20 Tejas aircraft of IOC standard had been placed by IAF, to commence induction by 2010. In September 2008 Air Chief Marshal FH Major said that the Indian Air Force will induct the Tejas by 2015. Admitting that the Tejas program was running behind schedule, Major said the IAF had decided to absorb 20 Tejas aircraft and ten others with old engines for training. By February 2009 LCA-Tejas had completed 1030 Test Flights successfully. It was then believed that the Tejas would enter operational service by December 2010 with Initial Operational Clearance. The IAF had placed an order for 20 Tejas lightweight multi-role planes, and may increase the number to 40.

The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, LSP-7 accomplished its maiden flight from HAL airport on 9th March 2012. This test flight is significant for the programme as LSP-7's build-standard is close to the initial operational clearance ( IOC) standard. LSP-7, along with LSP-8, will be offered to the Indian Air Force for user evaluation trials (UET). It was a moment of immense pride for the members of the Tejas team who reported satisfactory performance of aircraft systems including Multi-mode Radar (MMR), Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS), Auto-pilot and Instrument Landing System (ILS). It was the first time that the maiden flight of the aircraft was not accompanied by the customary 'chase' aircraft which is an indication of the rising levels of confidence in the performance of the aircraft. Another significant achievement includes the "Production Test Schedule" which was used for the first time on the maiden test flight of the LSP-7 aircraft.

Series Production

SP-1 to SP-40 Planned for start in 2013. By 2005, the Tejas had proven itself in the testing phase and the first order for 20 Series Production aircraft was placed. A follow on order for an additional 20 SP aircraft was placed in 2010.

On 17 January 2015 the LCA Tejas Series Production-1 (SP1) was handed over by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to Indian Air Force Chief Air Marshal Arup Raha in Bengaluru. SP-1 was delivered in the Initial Operation Clearance 2 (IOC-2) configuration released at the end of 2013. The upgraded aircraft is capable of high-angle-of-attack flight, faster turnarounds and deployment of R73E Archer infrared air-to-air missiles and 1,000-lb. laser-guided bombs in air-superiority and offensive air support missions.

Tejas Trainer

Two-seat operational conversion trainer for the Indian Air Force. An operational type trainer & two seat aircraft for Tejas AF Mk1 was been developed by ADA and its partners Two prototype trainer aircraft (PV5 and PV6 the Aircraft being close to series production trainer) underwent rigorous flight tests. Tejas AF Mk1 Trainer Final Operational Clearance (FOC) target was December 2015 Tejas Trainer will have capabilities close to the fighter

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