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IAF receives first LCA twin-seater Tejas from HAL

Source: PTI
October 04, 2023 18:54 IST
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Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on Wednesday handed over the first LCA Tejas twin-seater aircraft to the Indian Air Force.

IMAGE: Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, receives the LCA Tejas twin-seater trainer aircraft from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited CMD CB Ananthakrishnan, Bengaluru, October 4, 2023. Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt is in the middle. Photograph: ANI Photo

The Bengaluru-headquartered company said the twin-seater variant has all the capabilities to support training requirements of IAF and augments itself to the role of fighter as well, when necessary.

The LCA Tejas twin-seater is a light-weight all-weather multi-role 4.5 generation aircraft.

It is an amalgamation of contemporary concepts and technologies such as relaxed static stability, quadraplex fly-by-wire flight control, carefree manoeuvering, advanced glass cockpit, integrated digital avionics systems and advanced composite materials for the airframe, HAL said.


This adds India to the list of "very few" elite countries who have created such capability and have them operational in their defence forces, it said, adding that it's another feather in the cap of the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' initiative of the Government of India.

"This historic event today will mark the achievement of a key milestone of producing LCA twin-seater which is designed with a strategic intent of graduating the budding pilots from the twin-seater variants to fighter Pilots," HAL said.

HAL has an order of 18 twin-seaters from IAF and is planning to deliver eight of them during 2023-24. The remaining 10 would be delivered progressively by 2026-27.

More orders are also expected from IAF, the company said.

Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt was the chief guest during the function at which the LCA twin-seater was unveiled, the Release to Service Document (RSD) was handed over and the Signalling out Certificate (SOC) was issued, in the presence of Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, among others.

Speaking at the event, the minister said that it is a huge boost to India's self-reliance. ”In all, the development of LCA Tejas has also brought about a shift in our approach to defence procurement. It has demonstrated that India has the talent, knowledge and capability to design, develop and manufacture world-class fighters," Bhatt said.

Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said that IAF would be procuring 97 more LCAs, and with this it will have 220 LCAs in its inventory.

HAL CMD (addl charge) C B Ananthakrishnan said the company is committed to delivering all the twin-seater aircraft pertaining to IOC (initial operational clearance) and FOC (final operational clearance) contract to IAF in the current financial year.

"With this, we are moving one step closer towards achieving self-sufficiency in the fixed wing segment. These trainers also ensure smooth transition for the pilots from trainer to fighter aircraft in this class," he added.

HAL has said that it is in discussions with many friendly foreign countries towards exporting the LCA Tejas platform and had submitted various customised proposals for exporting LCA Tejas fighter and twin-seater aircraft to them around the world.

LCA Tejas is the best platform for India to be a flagbearer to achieve export targets set by the Government of India, it said.

LCA-Tejas is the "largest" R&D programme ever undertaken in India, HAL said.

It made its maiden flight during 2001 and achieved various milestones since then. It is going to be the backbone of the IAF fleet in the years to come and is slated to be produced in high numbers by HAL in Bengaluru as the company has already got an order of 123 aircraft out of which 32 fighters has been supplied to IAF and two squadrons are already operational with IAF at Sulur Air Force base.

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