Bangalore (ISJ): India's indigenously developed light combat aircraft 'Tejas' was finally cleared for induction in the Indian Air Force, IAF. Equipped with a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system, the aircraft achieved another significant milestone on Saturday (Dec. 07) with the launching of an infrared seeking air-to-air missile that hit and destroyed the target in a direct hit with precision, said Defence Ministry in a statement. The test flight, demonstrating required parameters was conducted off the coast of Goa in Arabian Sea ahead of its expected induction in to IAF later this month.
"With this launch of missile from Tejas and successfully hitting the target in the first shot, we have demonstrated the total system capability of LCA Tejas," said an elated Avinash Chander, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and Secretary Department of Defence Research and Development.
Piloted by Group Captain Suneet Krishna, the aircraft commanded Infrared seeker missile through the fire control radar to lock on to the target, towed by a pilotless aircraft 'Lakshya'.
Tejas, part of the Light Combat Aircraft programme to replace India's aging fleet of MiG-21 fighters which began in the 1980s had over-run time and development cost. From an initial cost of Rs. 560 crore in 1983, project Tejas was delayed by 20 years and the cost overshooting to over Rs. 13,000 crore, with the government giving an extension of the fighter's full-scale engineering development till December 31, 2018.
The aircraft was developed by a national consortium of over 100 defence laboratories, industrial organisations and academic institutions with the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd as the principal contractor.
Tejas completed its maiden flight in March, 2013 after getting the Flight Readiness Review Board's (FRRB) clearance. A month later, the Naval version of Tejas, designed to operate from aircraft crriers, also made successful flight-trial. The Naval version use ski-jump for take-off and arrested landing for aircraft carrier operations. It uses a drooped nose section for better view and strengthened airframe structure for such operations.