India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the Tejas will be integrated with the US- and Russian-origin missiles and is expected to fly this month during the Indian Air Force show.
The jet is currently undergoing final operational clearance and will soon be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The IAF has confirmed that the Tejas jet will be flying at the IAF exercise, ‘Iron Fist-2016’, in Rajasthan on March 18, Tribune India reported.
The Tejas will fire the beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile, the R-73 of Russian origin, and the precision laser-guided bomb Griffin missile, produced by US company Raytheon.
Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, Vice-Chief of the IAF, was quoted as saying today that the LCA shall do both tasks in a single flight.
The exercise will display the ‘capability to punish’, said the IAF Vice-Chief.
LCA also features new quartz radome radar from Cobham, UK. The radar was flight-tested in the last week of February and is expected to increase the radar range to 80 km and beyond.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence has decided to locally produce 106 upgraded Light Combat Aircraft Tejas jets to replace the ageing fleet of MiG fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force. The “Tejas Mark 1-A” will have 43 improvements over the existing Tejas currently being test-flown by the IAF for various parameters and slated for final operation clearance in March.
The existing project is running years behind schedule. The Ministry of Defence has set a 2018 deadline for the first aircraft to be ready with a target to complete its production by 2022-2023. The HAL has been asked to produce 16 jets annually and a Rs 1,252-crore modernization plan has been okayed to ramp up capacities from the present six-seven planes annually. The decision will go a long way in keeping the IAF battle-ready.
The upgraded jets will fill the void created by MiG-21s and MiG-27s that will be phased out by 2022.There are 260 Soviet-era single-engine MiG-21 and MiG-27 jets in the IAF fleet. The Air Force needs 400 jets over the next 10 years.