The Indian Ministry of Defence has inducted a fourth plus generation light combat aircraft (LCA) named 'Tejas' into its air force.
The Indian Air Force's (IAF) No. 45 Squadron will deploy the indigenously developed aircraft in place of a MiG-21 supersonic jet fighter aircraft.
Said to be the first advance fly-by-wire (FBW) fighter aircraft, Tejas has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Tejas can drop unguided bombs with much higher accuracy as it uses a highly advanced indigenous mission computer.
It has the ability to fire air-to-air missiles, bombs and precision guided munitions.
The aircraft, with a glass cockpit, satellite aided inertial navigation system, digital computer based attack system and an autopilot has successfully completed more than 3000 sorties to date.
The FBW fighter can be fitted with beyond visual range (BVR) missiles, improved and better stand-off weapons and air-to-air refuelling capability.
The induction of the aircraft will be carried out in a phased approach.
The IAF is also seeking additional LCA Mk 1A that will incorporate new generation active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with simultaneous air-to-air and air-to-ground capability, an integrated advanced Electronic Warfare Suite, advanced versions of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons and maintainability improvements.
Image: A Tejas conducting an inverted pass. Photo: courtesy of Premshree Pillai.