Bengaluru: In a historic milestone, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew a sortie in the indigenously designed, developed and manufactured Tejas Twin Seat Light Combat Fighter aircraft at Bengaluru today. The Sortie was carried out from the Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment, Bengaluru. During the 30-minute sortie, capabilities of fighter aircraft Tejas were demonstrated to the PM. This is the first time an Indian Prime Minister has flown a fighter aircraft sortie. PM described his experience of flying the sortie as memorable.
PM Modi, who has given a strong impetus to Aatmanirbharta in defence manufacturing applauded the scientists, engineers and flight test crew associated with the designing, development and production of the state of art fighter aircraft. He expressed pride in the capabilities of Indian engineers and scientists.
The LCA trainer Is a light weight, all weather, multirole aircraft which can undertake all roles of a single seat Tejas fighter and can also be used as a fighter trainer. This is the first time ever that an indigenous twin seat fighter has been designed, developed and manufactured in India. With an amalgamation of contemporary concepts and technologies such as quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control, carefree manoeuvring, advanced glass cockpit, integrated digital avionics systems and advanced composite materials for the airframe, it is a state-of-the-art aircraft. The fighter aircraft has enhanced the defence capabilities and preparedness of the nation.
IAF test crew have been involved with the Tejas project right from conceptual stage till prototype testing. The first version of the aircraft was inducted into the IAF in 2016. Currently, two squadrons of IAF, 45 Squadron and 18 Squadron, are fully operational with LCA Tejas. An order worth Rs 36,468 Crore for delivery of 83 LCA Mk 1A aircraft has been placed with HAL and delivery is scheduled to begin by February 2024. HAL has current capacity to build 8 LCA aircraft per year. This is being increased to 16 aircraft’s every year by 2025 and further to 24 aircraft every year in the next 3 years.
More than Rs 9000 Crore have been sanctioned for the development of LCA Mk 2, an updated and more lethal version of LCA Tejas. To further promote indigenisation, including of the aircraft engine, Transfer of Technology for manufacturing of the GE engine in India has been negotiated with GE during Prime Minister’s visit to the US in June 2023. In the coming years, Tejas would be the largest fleet of fighter aircraft to be operated by the Indian Air Force. Today’s sortie by the Prime Minister will encourage the aeronautics ecosystem and give a big boost to Aatmanirbharta in defence sector.