LCA Tejas Light Weight Multi Role Fighter of India-Radiance-4th Generation

LCA Tejas is an Indian single engine, 4th Generation, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.

LCA Tejas
LCA Tejas

The Indian Tejas (Radiance) is a lightweight multi-role fighter, developed by Aeronautical Development Agency and manufactured by HAL. The Tejas made its maiden flight in 2001 and limited production of this aircraft commenced in 2007. Development was finally completed in 2013. The Tejas is expected to enter service with the Indian Air Force and gradually replace the ageing fleet of MiG-21s, MiG-23s, MiG-27s, Jaguars and Mirage 2000s. However currently its production status is uncertain. The first Indian Air Force unit was equipped with two LCA Tejas fighters in 2016. However it is unknown when this aircraft will achieve full operational capability.

LCA Tejas Program

   The Light Combat Aircraft or LCA programme was launched back in 1983. It was intended to develop a completely indigenous fighter, which would replace the Soviet MiG-21. At that time the MiG-21 was a mainstay of the Indian Air Force. In 1984 the Aeronautical Development Agency was established to manage the LCA programme. The first technology demonstrator was completed in 1995, however it was grounded due to troubles with flight control system.

   It is a delta wing design, powered by a single engine. Composite materials are widely used in the airframe to keep the weight down. These aircraft will be powered by General Electric F404-GE-IN20 as an interim powerplant, until the GTRE GTX-35VS Kaveri turbofan becomes available. Other engines might also be fitted. Both of these engines are fitted with afterburners. The LCA Tejas is fitted with fly-by-wire control system and multi-mode radar.

   The HAL Tejas multi-role fighter can carry a wide range of weapons, mainly of Russian origin. Aircraft is fitted with eight under-wing and under-fuselage hardpoints. Maximum capacity is over 4 000 kg of external ordnance and fuel. It can carry Astra, R-77 (AA-12 Adder) beyond visual range and R-73 (AA-11 Archer) short-range air-to-air missiles. Air-to-surface missiles include the Kh-59 with TV or laser guidance, or Kh-31. There are also Kh-35 anti-ship cruise missiles. This aircraft can also carry various bombs, including free fall bombs, cluster bombs or precision-guided munitions. It is fitted with a twin-barrel 23 mm cannon.

   A two-seat conversion trainer is under development. It is reported that Indian Air Force has requirement for 200 single-seat fighters and 20 two-seat conversion trainers.

   The Light Combat Aircraft (Naval) or LCA(N) is a naval version of the Tejas. It a two-seat naval aircraft made its first flight in 2012. A single seat naval multi-role fighter is currently under development. Indian Navy might order 40 of these aircraft to replace the Sea Harriers.

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