Indian Air Force Takes Delivery of First Serial Production LCA Tejas Fighter Aircraft

Released on Monday, January 10, 2011
LCA Navy
ADA - Aeronautical Development Agency
CEMILAC - Centre for Military Airworthiness Certification
DGAQA - Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance
DRDO - Defense, Research and Development Organization
HAL - Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
IAF - Indian Air Force
LCA - Light Combat Aircraft
LSP - Limited Series Production
Nearly three decades after it was first conceptualized, the Initial Operational Clearance for the Light Combat Aircraft was accorded today when the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony handed over a formal "Release to Service Certificate" of Tejas aircraft to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, at a function in Bangalore. The "Release to Service certificate" is prepared by Regional Center for Military Airworthiness, an organization under CEMILAC (Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification) which has thoroughly scrutinized the entire design, development, equipment testing and the results of flight testing of all the systems of Tejas over the last several months. This is the first time an indigenously designed and developed military fighter aircraft is being certified for Air Force operations. This occasion marks a very important achievement in the design and development of Tejas in particular and military aviation in the country as a whole. After this, Tejas aircraft will be available for use by the Indian Air Force Pilots.

Visibly happy, Shri Antony announced that the Government had cleared the next lot of 20 Series Production aircraft and expressed confidence that there will be a progressive improvement in the standard of build. Further, he said, there is a scope for supplying more of Mk2 variants of Navy and Air Force. The estimation is that Nation needs about 200 of Tejas Aircraft, Shri Antony said.

Dwelling on the Military Aviation Programmes in the country, Shri Antony said, these have been given a major thrust in the recent past. The Tejas programme has been extended to work on the Mark II Variants of Air Force and Navy with more powerful engines. The DRDO has also initiated projects on Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, varieties of unmanned aircraft and Unmanned Air Combat Vehicles. The Ministry of Defence has also progressed the activities of the major programmes like the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft and Medium Transport Aircraft which HAL is spearheading. The Airborne Early Warning and Combat Aircraft is ready for rolling out in January with flight trials starting by end of the year. He said, shortly, the country will see the first flight of LCA Navy. 'The successful completion of the above programmes will lead the country towards self reliance with the state-of-the-art technologies in the world. The time has now come for our industries both public and private sector, to manufacture these world class military systems with highest quality and productivity', Shri Antony said.

Speaking on the occasion, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik said 'Tejas taking wing is a dream coming true'. He said the event marks the successful fusion of designing, engineering and production. ACM Naik said there is still some more work that needs to be done on Tejas and expressed confidence that it would be completed by the middle of this year.

Tejas Programme had been initiated 28 years ago to develop the technologies of the fourth generation fighter aircraft and demonstrate them on two technology demonstrator aircraft. There was a gap of two generations of technologies at that time. The Tejas team consisted of ADA, HAL, DRDO, IAF, CEMILAC, DGAQA, PSUs, Private Industries and Academic Institutions. ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency), a part of Department of Defence R&D, Ministy of Defence with Secretary, Department of Defence Research &Development, spearheaded the design and development process as the nodal agency. The challenge was taken up and the first Technology Demonstrator encompassing fourth generation fighter aircraft technologies was flown on January 4, 2001. By March 2004, with one more Technology Demonstrator and one Prototype vehicle, all the technologies of the fourth generation relevant to the Tejas had been demonstrated successfully, completing the technology demonstration phase.

The next phase of the Programme got initiated in November 2001 with the Government funding for not only building the prototypes for the Fighter and Trainer but also for establishing the "Limited Series Production (LSP) line" and delivery of eight Limited Series Production aircraft. Today the Programme has reached the stage of demonstrating the integration of all the required sensors and weapons as well as demonstration of safe and reliable flying within the specified flight envelope. The above has been demonstrated through about 1500 test flights using about 11 aircraft flown by over 15 test pilots of Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy.

It is worth recognizing that during the last two decades; the effort of the Tejas team has not only gone into production of the aircraft and the flight testing, it has uplifted the technology level of various disciplines of design, development, ground testing and flight testing in the country. Technology levels of these areas have been taken up to fourth generation in the country. The Programme has also nurtured a large human capital of Aeronautical Engineers during the last two decades. This evolution of the eco systems in Aeronautics has made the country ready to take on future military and civil aviation challenges.

Source: Initial Operational Clearance Accorded to LCA Tejas Antony Hands over 'Release to Service Certificate' for Tejas to Air Force Chief

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