In a landmark day in India’s defence capability, Indian Air Force’s Light Combat Aircraft Tejas (LCA Tejas) has been inducted as a fully-weaponised fighter jet.
It is India’s first self-made fighter jet.
The aircraft received the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) in 2013 and IOC standard Aircraft were inducted into IAF No.45 Squadron in July 2016.
It received the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) at the Aero India 2019 being held in Bengaluru.
Talking To The Skies
On Thursday, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat flew in the LCA Tejas for 30 minute at the Aero India 2019.
— Defence Spokesperson (@SpokespersonMoD) February 21, 2019
He described the fighter jet as a “wonderful aircraft” that would add to the air power.
He signaled that it was combat ready.
Gen Rawat stated that it was an experience of a lifetime as the aircraft was wonderful with good LCA targeting systems.
If it gets added to the inventory, it will add to air power.
– Bipin Rawat
LCA Tejas A Major Milestone
It is considered as the smallest and lightest multirole supersonic fighter jet in its class.
A lightweight aircraft with a short range can carry the same array of modern weapons that bigger warplanes carry, from precision guided and standoff weaponry to long-range ‘beyond visual range’ missiles that can take down enemy planes from a safe distance.
Air Force Chief Air Marshal BS Dhanoa called the aircraft a “major milestone”.
In the Vayu Shakti exercise we showed you how accurately this fighter jet could dispense weapons on the target. We also demonstrated how the aircraft can not only sustain a very high sortie rate, but can also carry out very accurate weapons delivery.
– Air Marshal BS Dhanoa
The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) performed air-to-ground attacks and air-to-air refuelling at IAF’s Vayu Shakti 2019 air display at Pokhran in Rajasthan on 16 February 2019.
According to an official statement, the 45 Squadron has since flown over 1,500 sorties during the trials without a single hitch.
The fighter jet inspired the logo for Aero India 2019 which is a triangle in the colours of the national flag.
#DidYouKnow: The logo for #AeroIndia2019 is inspired by the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). The Tejas LCA together with its variants, is the smallest and lightest Multi-Role Supersonic Fighter Aircraft of its class. #AeroIndiaShow #AeroIndiaStartupDay pic.twitter.com/y5DC5DC6uz
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) February 21, 2019
Aero India 2019
The five-day Aero India 2019, India’s biennial air show, started in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
The organisers said that the exhibition was attended by more than 60,000 business visitors and 1 lakh general visitors.
At the 12th edition of the air show, 61 aircraft are expected to conquer the skies over the Yelahanka Air Force station with over 400 exhibitors participating.
Displaying the country’s air defence prowess, the air show will be the largest aero show in Asia.
As the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee had named the LCA as Tejas, the aircraft paid tribute to him at the air show.
Today during #AeroIndia2019 inaugural ceremony flypast, #LCA #Tejas paid homage to Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former PM of country.
He had named LCA as Tejas.#AeroIndiaBegins… pic.twitter.com/TBGMWoZhkT
— Defence Spokesperson (@SpokespersonMoD) February 20, 2019
HTT-40 (Basic Trainer Aircraft), first indigenously upgraded Hawk Mk132- named as Hawk-i, Civil Do-228, Advanced Light Helicopter (Rudra), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) are scheduled to fly in the air show.
The Road Ahead
The Indian Air Force recently placed an order of 83 advanced FOC aircraft of the LCA Tejas.
IAF also plans to induct the LCA Tejas MK II as well as replace the Jaguar, Mirage and MiG 29 fighter jets.
The air chief stated that after this, the air force would also go ahead with the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.