By FnF Desk | PUBLISHED: 10, Jan 2011, 12:08 pm IST | UPDATED: 10, Jan 2011, 12:46 pm IST
Bangalore: A milestone was achieved in the Indian Defence industry when Defence Minister A K Antony today handed over Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) certificate for indigenously built fighter aircraft Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft.
Thus, the long cherished dream of IAF pilots to feel the maiden indigenously developed fighter before it was formally inducted for action has come true.
It was a momentous day for those in the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) when Mr Antony handed over the IOC Certificate to the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal P V Naik.
The handing over signalled a new phase for Tejas before it will be inducted as a squadron, which is likely to be based at Sulur, near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
Tejas is a lightweight multirole jet fighter being developed by India. It is a tailless, compound delta wing design powered by a single engine. Originally known as the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-a designation which continues in popular usage-the aircraft was officially named "Tejas" by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The IAF is reported to have a requirement for 200 single-seat and 20 two-seat conversion trainers, while the Indian Navy may order up to 40 single-seaters to replace its Sea Harrier FRS.51 and Harrier T.60. During its sea level flight trials off Goa, Tejas notched a speed of over 1,350 km per hour, thus becoming the second supersonic fighter manufactured indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited after the HAL Marut.
The Tejas is single-engined multirole fighter which features a tailless, compound delta-wing planform and is designed with "relaxed static stability" for enhanced maneuverability. Originally intended to serve as an air superiority aircraft with a secondary "dumb bomb" ground-attack role, the flexibility of this design approach has permitted a variety of guided air-to-surface and anti-shipping weapons to be integrated for more well-rounded multirole and multimission capabilities.
The tailless, compound-delta planform is designed to keep the Tejas small and lightweight. The use of this planform also minimises the control surfaces needed (no tailplanes or foreplanes, just a single vertical tailfin), permits carriage of a wider range of external stores, and confers better close-combat, high-speed, and high-alpha performance characteristics than comparable cruciform-wing designs.
Extensive wind tunnel testing on scale models and complex computational fluid dynamics analyses have optimised the aerodynamic configuration of the LCA, giving it minimum supersonic drag, a low wing-loading, and high rates of roll and pitch.
All weapons are carried on one or more of seven hardpoints with total capacity of greater than 4,000 kg: three stations under each wing and one on the under-fuselage centreline. There is also an eighth, offset station beneath the port-side intake trunk which can carry a variety of pods (FLIR, IRST, laser rangefinder/designator, or reconnaissance), as can the centreline under-fuselage station and inboard pairs of wing stations.
The Tejas has integral internal fuel tanks to carry 3,000 kg of fuel in the fuselage and wing, and a fixed inflight refuelling probe on the starboard side of the forward fuselage. Externally, there are "wet" hardpoint provisions for up to three 1,200- or five 800-litre (320- or 210-US gallon; 260- or 180-Imp gallon) fuel tanks on the inboard and mid-board wing stations and the centreline.