India’s indigenously developed ‘Tejas’ (Radiance in Sanskrit) Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is participating in the aerial displays at Langkawi, marking the regional show debut for the supersonic fighter jet.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is making its maiden appearance at the show, with two Tejas aircraft (LA 5009 & LA 5010) belonging to No.45 Squadron ‘Flying Daggers’ which is the first operational IAF Tejas fighter squadron.
The IAF presence at the ongoing airshow is an opportunity for Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) to assess the capabilities of LCA and will also serve as a foundation for any future interaction between the two air arms. The IAF team departed from Air Force Station Kalaikunda before arriving at Langkawi via Myanmar. The IAF contingent comprises of two Tejas fighters, one C-130J and one IL-76 MD, in addition to 27 officers, 42 airmen and 11 personnel from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
“We are happy with the Tejas LCA and is already displaying high serviceability rates and precision attack capability in the IAF,” said Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa.
The Tejas made its international show debut at the 2016 Bahrain International Air Show, where two aircraft made the first over-water journey of the Indian light fighter. The Tejas fighter aircraft at LIMA are Series Production (SP) aircraft and are of the Mk1 Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) variant. These aircraft are fitted with a mechanically scanned Elbit Multi-Mode Radar (MMR) and DASH-IV Helmet Mounted Display and Sight (HMDS).
“We are happy with the aircraft and it is already displaying high serviceability rates and precision attack capability in the IAF,” said Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa at the recently concluded Aero India. Indian pilots have acknowledged the flying qualities and handling characteristics of Tejas to be very good and superior to the Mirage 2000, which is also operated by the service.
However, the Tejas Mk1 will not be avail-able for export as only approximately two dozen aircraft are left to be produced in the IOC and Final Operational Clearance (FOC) variants. The version of the light fighter that will be offered for export will be the Tejas Mk1A, for which the IAF will soon place orders for 83 aircraft (73 single seat & 20 twin seat). The Tejas Mk1A will be equipped with an Elta EL/M-2052 AESA radar, as compared to the mechanically scanned Elta EL/M-2032 radar on in-service Tejas Mk1s. Also planned on the Tejas Mk1A are MBDA ASRAAM missiles, indigenously developed ASTRA BVRAAMs, BrahMos-NG supersonic cruise missiles (two per aircraft), a pod mounted Self Protection Jammer (SPJ) and In-Flight Refuelling and the ability to undertake ‘Hot Refuelling’, where the aircraft can be refuelled with the engines running. This allows the sortie generation rate to be dramatically enhanced.
The Indian light fighter also features a very high percentage of Carbon Fibre Composite (CFC) materials, which make up approximately 45 per cent of its air-frame, including in the fuselage (doors and skins), wings (skin, spars and ribs), elevons, tailfin, rudder, air brakes and landing gear doors. Tejas Mk 1 and Mk1A fighter jets will be powered by GE F404-IN20 engines.
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