Tejas Light Combat Crossed 1000 sortier

Team Tejas’ in front of the Tejas prototype aircraft after crossing the 1,000-sortie landmark in Bangalore on Thursday (Photo: expressbuzz.com)

The lithe grey Tejas prototype aircraft from the stables of the Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited took to the air on Thursday (1/22), and crossed the 1002 sortie mark, a significant achievement in an aircraft’s development programme.. The sortie lasted about 30 minutes, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) sources said here, and was carried out by Group Captain JA Maolankar, chief test pilot of the National Flight Test Centre.

The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft took off for its first flight on 4 January 2001 in a sortie that lasted 18 minutes. The flight was carried out by the very first Tejas aircraft called the Technology Demonstrator-1 (TD-1). The programme has come a long way. It was conceived as an ambitious attempt to leapfrog nearly 40 years of neglect of Indian aeronautical design.

The first phase (Full Scale Engineering Development Phase I) was essentially aimed at demonstration of four key technologies like the quadruplex redundant digital fly by wire system, an all-glass cockpit, carbon composite primary structures and microprocessor based control of utility systems.

After having successfully completed Phase-I, the programme is currently in Phase-II. The objective of this phase is to deliver an operationally capable aircraft for induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF) and later into the Indian Navy.

A total of seven aircraft are currently part of the flight test programme. The Tejas is slated to enter operational service with the IAF by December 2010 in the Initial Operational Capability configuration.

Speaking to members of "Team Tejas" after the flight, Gp Capt JA Maolankar said: "For a project that has so ambitiously pushed the envelope of indigenous technology, the results have been world-class in many key areas." (edited @domain-b.com/expressbuzz.com)

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