In July 2016, two HAL Tejas fighter jets were inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) squadron, known as the 'Flying Daggers 45'. The aircraft was designed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
IAF chief Arup Raha had his first flight in Tejas before being inducted into the Air Force. After flying the indigenously designed and produced fighter jet, he called it a good aircraft for IAF operations.
For the first two years, the Flying Daggers 45 will be based in Bangalore. After that, they will be moved to Sulur in Tamil Nadu.
In 1984, Indian government started planning to kick-start the process to build an indigenous aircraft. For development purpose, Aeronautical Development Agency was set up by the government.
At first, the aircraft was called LCA ( Light Combat Aircraft). In 2001, the LCA made its first flight.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee named the aircraft ‘Tejas' and in Sanskrit, Tejas means ‘radiance.'
It is a single-seat, single-jet engine, multi-role lightweight supersonic fighter jet. The powerplant used in this aircraft is General Electric F404-GE-F2J3 turbofan engines with afterburn.
The aircraft can fly at a speed of Mach 1.8 (2,205 km/h) and at a maximum altitude of 15,200m. The range of the aircraft is 3,000 km and weighs approximately 5,450 kg.
The aircraft's fuselage is composed of 42 percent carbon fibre composites, 43 percent aluminium alloy and the remainder titanium alloy.
For ease handling by the pilot, Tejas is equipped with a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system. This system is integrated to enhance manoeuvrability.
Earlier in 2016, Tejas participated in its first foreign show at Bahrain International Airshow, where it was compared with JF-17 Thunder - a fighter jet produced by Pakistan with the help of China.
After comparing both the aircraft, a source said, "Tejas is the better one since it is mostly made of the composite which makes it light and very agile. It also comes with smart ammunitions and bombs which help it to hit targets in a precise manner."
Planned production variants are:
- Tejas Trainer
- Tejas Mark 1A
- Tejas Trainer IN
- Tejas MK1 Navy
- Tejas Mk2 Navy
- Tejas Mark 2
The aircraft is equipped to handle armament such as:
- 1× mounted 23 mm twin-barrel GSh-23 cannon with 220 rounds of ammunition
- S-8 rocket pods, Bofors 135 mm rocket
- Air-to-air missiles:
- R-73 (missile)
- DRDO Anti-Radiation Missile
- Kh-59ME (TV-guided standoff missile)
- Kh-59MK (Laser-guided standoff missile)
- Anti-ship missiles
- KAB-1500L laser-guided bombs
- GBU-16 Paveway II
- ODAB-500PM fuel-air explosives
- ZAB-250/350 incendiary bombs
- BetAB-500Shp powered concrete-piercing bombs
- FAB-500T gravity bombs
- OFAB-250-270 gravity bombs
- OFAB-100-120 gravity bombs
- RBK-500 cluster bomb stake
- Drop tanks for ferry flight/extended range/loitering time
- LITENING targeting pod
Check out the video of HAL Tejas