Tejas Light Combat Aircraft Fires First Air-to-Air Missile

Released on Thursday, October 25, 2007
ADA - Aeronautical Development Agency
HAL - Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
IAF - Indian Air Force
IOC - Initial Operational Capability
LCA - Light Combat Aircraft
R&D - Research and Development
SMS - Store Management System
The Light Combat Aircraft 'TEJAS' program achieved the most significant milestone yet when it successfully test fired the Close Combat Missile R-73 today at the air to air range off Goa coast. The historic event marks the beginning of weaponisation, which is the focus of the current initial operational clearance (IOC) phase of the program. Air to Air missile integration and testing especially on a fly by wire aircraft is a very complex task involving interfaces with aerodynamics, engine air intake, control laws, flight control system, avionics system, electrical and other general system of aircraft. Today's successful test firing is the culmination of preparatory work under the guidance of Mr. JJ Jadhav, DPD (Weapon Systems) and Mr. Balasubramanyam, AGM (HAL). Accordingly the main objectives of test firing were to validate:

Safe separation of the missile from the parent aircraft.

Effect of missile plume on engine air-intake

Functionality of store management system (SMS) including safety interlocks

Effect of missile plume on composites structures

Handling quality assessment during missile launch

The historic flight was done on Tejas prototype vehicle PV-1, piloted by the Chief Test Pilot of the National Flight Test Centre ADA, Gp Capt. N. Harish. The test firing was done at 7 km altitude and 0.6 Mach. The flight test was conducted from the mobile telemetry vehicle where all the aircraft, systems and weapon data were closely monitored. Quick analysis of the data revealed that it was a 'text book' launch where the systems performance matched the predictions well. The event has proven the capability of the composite team comprising of designers, production agency, certification agency and Flight Test and the user agency (IAF) to integrate and flight test an advanced missile on an advanced fighter aircraft Tejas.

INS Hansa of Indian Navy provided all support for this important flight trial. Photo chase aircraft Sea Harrier was flown by Capt. Yatish Saxena and Cdr. Dalip Singh. The successful missile firing was witnessed by Chief Controller (R&D) Dr. D. Banerjee, Programme Director ADA Mr. P. S. Subramaniam and Director LCA (IAF) AVM B. C. Nanjapa.


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