Tejas, the 4th generation fighter aircraft indigenously developed in the country after technology gap of around two decades of HF Marut by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will not just find its way in the Indian Armed Forces but will also be exported to other countries, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Lok Sabha on November 18, 2016.
Parrikar told the Lower House on Thursday that for exporting LCA Tejas to other countries, preliminary discussions have been held by the government with a few friendly countries. Presently, HAL has established facilities for manufacturing and delivery of 8 LCA per annum.
There is a plan to ramp up the production rate from 8 to 16 Aircraft per annum progressively by 2019-20.
With indigenous technology from DRDO, LCA Tejas –the modern combat aircraft is the smallest and lightest multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft that is being designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Navy.
Tejas, the modern combat aircraft with a glass cockpit, is equipped with state of the art Satellite aided Inertial Navigation System. It has a digital computer based attack system and an autopilot. It can fire Air to Air Missiles, Bombs as well as Precision Guided Munitions.
Conceived as a MiG-21 replacement, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) “Tejas” –the first advance Fly-by-wire (FBW) fighter aircraft designed, developed and manufactured in India was inducted into No. 45 Squadron of Indian Air Force (IAF) on 01 Jul 2016. It is to the credit of its designers, manufacturer, technicians and test crew, that LCA has flown more than 3000 sorties / 2000 Hrs till date without any accident.
At the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on November 7, for the first time two schemes worth Rs 53,000 crore were cleared under the Indigenous Design Development and Manufacturing (IDDM) category. The two proposals included according clearance to an AON (Acceptance of Necessity) for 83 Light Combat Aircrafts (LCAs) Tejas at a cost of Rs 50,025 crore for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and another AON for 15 Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs) including 10 for the IAF and 5 for the Indian Army at a cost of Rs 2911 crores. The DAC is headed by the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
More on LCA Tejas: Its development by LCA (Tejas) team at ADA, an autonomous society of DRDO is unique in the light of the fact that there was no infrastructure base and negligible technological base available in the country for undertaking development of a modern combat aircraft.
Full Scale Engineering Development (FSED) programme was actually sanctioned in April 1993.
The historic maiden flight of the first Technology Demonstrator (TD1) took place on January 04, 2001. The scope of FSED Phase 1 was to demonstrate the technologies so that a decision could be taken to build operational proto vehicles, at a later stage.
LCA FSED Phase 1 was completed on March 31, 2004 with all objectives of technology development achieved. With efficient management of funds, four aircraft (TD1, TD2, PV1, & PV2) have been built within the funds sanctioned for two aircraft development.
While Phase 1 programme was in progress, the Government in November 2001 decided to concurrently go ahead with the build of operational proto vehicles in LCA FSED Phase 2 programme. The scope of FSED Phase 2 programme was to build three prototypes of operational aircraft including trainers and also to build the infrastructure required for producing eight aircraft per year and build eight Limited Series Production (LSP) aircraft.
The Phase 2 programme has been split into two phases namely, Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) and Final Operational Clearance (FOC). Standard of Preparation of operational aircraft was finalized in 2004 with changes in weapons, sensors and avionics to meet IAF requirements and overcome obsolescence.
LCA has accomplished about 3200 flights, testifies the point that it is a reliable aircraft and that the LCA Programme is now racing smoothly toward achieving FOC after attaining IOC in December 2013.
Action for induction of Tejas into IAF has been initiated. As of now, IAF has placed order in 2006 for 20 Tejas aircraft in IOC configuration and another 20 aircraft in FOC configuration in 2010. Aircraft build is in progress.
Maiden flight of first Series Production (SP1) Tejas aircraft of IOC configuration took place on September 30, 2014 and handed over to the Indian Air Force by the Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar on January 17, 2015.
Maiden flight of Second Series Production (SP2) Tejas aircraft of IOC configuration took place on March 22, 2016.
Further SP aircraft will be delivered progressively by HAL to IAF for induction.