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On trial, Tejas fighter jet bombs target

Last updated on: September 23, 2011 17:45 IST

On trial, Tejas fighter jet bombs Jaisalmer

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In a key step towards attaining final operational clearance from the Indian Air Force, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is undergoing weapons trials, including firing air-to-air missiles to test its capability to bring down enemy planes.

 

As part of its first phase trials to fire bombs and missiles, Tejas underwent tests of its aerial skills a few days ago at a Jaisalmer range in Rajasthan.

The tests will continue till the end of this month during which the indigenously developed fighter plane will fire laser-guided bombs. A series of tests will be held in different conditions, DRDO officials said  in New Delhi on Friday.

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This is part of the development trials of the LCA Tejas for the purpose of FOC. More such trials will take place in coming months, they said.

 

The aircraft was inducted into the IAF in the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration in January this year.

 

Following the successful trials and necessary changes in its configuration, LCA Tejas is expected to get the FOC by December 2012.

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Before attaining the FOC, the aircraft will be subjected to intensive weapons trials at several locations, including mountainous regions of Leh.

 

By 2014, a total of seven squadrons (over 120 aircraft) of the advanced version of the fighter aircraft, LCA MK-II with upgraded system and capabilities would be inducted into the IAF.

 

As part of its plans, IAF will rely on a mix of the Su-30 MKI, 126 Medium-Multi Role Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) and the indigenous LCA as its combat assets by the end of this decade.

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"Tejas LCAs have been contracted for induction into Indian Air Force (IAF).The cost of procuring the LCA is about Rs 8,861 crore. Their design and manufacture involves development of sophisticated technology skills. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is manufacturing this aircraft for IAF," said Col S D Goswami, defence spokesman."

 

The LCA programme was launched for two primary purposes.

The principal goal was the development of a replacement aircraft for the ageing MiG-21 fighter planes. IAF is using the MiG-21 planes since the 1970s.

 

As per the Long Term Re-Equipment Plan, 1981, the MiG-21 planes will soon become non-functional and the IAF will fall short of 40 per cent of the aircraft needed to meet the projected force structure requirements.

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The Tejas is single-engine, multi-role fighter which is designed with "relaxed static stability" for better maneuverability. It can be armed with air-to-air, air-to-ground and anti-ship missiles, precision-guided munitions, rockets and bombs. Drop tanks can also be carried.

 

The LCA programme has so far incurred an expenditure of about Rs 25,000 crore of which Rs 12,000 crore was spent only on development.

 

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

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