This is for the first time that an Air force chief has flew in the LCA Tejas fighter, the indigenously designed and produced at HAL Bangalore. The 17 May 2016 is a historic day not only for Indian Air Force but for LCA Tejas. It is a major boost for ADA, HAL and DRDO as Air Force Chief heavily praised the aircraft.
The Tejas has been designed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and produced by HAL at Bangalore. The aircraft is an advanced fly by wire fighter aircraft with state of the art avionics.
The aircraft structure comprises of a large amount (more than 50%) of composites and features a quadruplex digital fly by wire control system.
The Air Chief Marshal carried out manoeuvers in the entire flying envelope of the aircraft. He carried out simulated air to air and air to ground attacks. He also assessed the advanced modes of the radar and Helmet Mounted Display Sight (HMDs). An ace fighter pilot himself, Air Chief Marshal Raha appreciated the flying qualities of the aircraft. He congratulated the entire team of ADA and HAL for their hard work in getting the LCA program to this stage. Later he also presented a gift to the fighter pilot who has flown with him.
The series production of the Tejas aircraft has already commenced at HAL Bangalore and the IAF intends to form the first squadron of the LCA on 01 July 2016 The IAF has also decided to place an order for an additional 80 Tejas in the advanced LCA MK1A configuration. The LCA MK1A will have at least 45 improvements than in the aircraft what Air Chief had flown.
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) must be keeping a close watch on the developments surrounding LCA Tejas as their JF-17 could not make much of a fighter and even opt out of dogfight in Bahrain International Air Show where LCA Tejas enthralled the world audience with its air manoeuvers.
First Flight of Indian Air Force Chief Arup Raha in LCA Video URL: https://youtu.be/CDg-7GVc41s
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Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.