Indian Air Force’s Tejas aircraft marks its first overseas flight

18 January 2016 (Last Updated January 18th, 2016 18:30)

Indian Air Force's (IAF) Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas flew to Bahrain marking its first overseas flight.

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Indian Air Force's (IAF) Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas flew to Bahrain marking its first overseas flight.

The Indian Ministry of Defence said in a statement: "History has been created when LCA Tejas, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), touched the foreign soil at Sakhir Airbase, Bahrain."

The aircraft will represent India in the Bahrain International Airshow-2016, with an eye on foreign sales.

IAF received the first series production of Tejas aircraft in January 2015.

Designed to replace the IAF's ageing fleet of MiG-21 and MiG-23 aircraft, Tejas is a single-seat, lightweight, high-agility, supersonic fighter aircraft jointly manufactured by a consortium of five organisations including Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and the Aeronautical Development Agency.

"History has been created when LCA Tejas, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), touched the foreign soil at Sakhir Airbase, Bahrain."

HAL will produce six Tejas fighter aircraft between 2015 and 2016 and has plans to increase the production up to eight and 16 aircraft each year.

By 2020, HAL hopes to supply 40 Mark I LCA aircraft to the IAF, which is expected to ultimately field approximately 14 LCA squadrons.

Also ordered by the Indian Navy, the aircraft features eight external hardpoints to carry stores, with three under each wing and a tailless compound delta platform. It can also be armed with air-to-air, air-to-ground, and anti-ship missiles, precision-guided munitions, rockets and bombs.

India will also showcase other indigenously developed defence systems, including airborne early warning and control platform, at the air show.


Image: The Indian Air Force's (IAF) Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. Photo: courtesy of Rinju9.