The Indian Tejas Mk1 light combat fighter goes into service
NEW DELHI, (BM) – The Indian Air Force on May 27 at the Sulur airbase (Tamil Nadu) held an official ceremony to commission the first LCA Tejas Mk.1 light combat aircraft in full combat readiness standard (FOC), learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
According to The Hindu, at the same time, the ceremony of launching the operation of the Tejas LCA aircraft took place in the second unit – the 18th air squadron of the 3rd air wing.
According to the Indian Air Force commander Marshal of the Air Force Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadaurii, in the standard of readiness for combat use, the LCA “Tejas” additionally has the ability to refuel in the air, melee weapons (GSH-23 double-barreled gun), additional discharged fuel tanks, and air-launched missiles with a long-range, updated software package and flight management system.
As the head of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) R. Madhavan said at the ceremony, the company expects the Cabinet of Ministers to approve the purchase of 83 LCA “Tejas” Mk.1A fighters for the Air Force at the end of the third quarter of this year (previously it was planned to sign the contract in August, however the deadline was postponed due to the situation with COVID-19).
Recall that the development of the LCA aircraft in order to replace the MiG-21 fighters began in 1983. Work on the project was carried out by the ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Development (CSIR), the Defense Research and Development Organization of the Indian Defense Ministry (DRDO), the Indian Air Force, as well as several other organizations.
The first flight was lasted 18 minutes on January 4, 2001. The first supersonic flight took place in August 2003. For various reasons, the project lagged significantly behind the originally agreed schedule.
The LCA Tejas Mk.1 light combat aircraft reached initial operational readiness (IOC) in 2013. Aircraft of this configuration became part of the 45th Indian Air Force squadron in July 2016.
In the future, ADA and HAL plan to develop a training aircraft based on the LCA Mk.1, which is called the “Supersonic Omni Role Trainer” (SPORT). However, disagreement over the requirements for this program with the Air Force remains a serious problem.
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