Calling Tejas LCA fighter jets as the backbone of the fighter fleet of the Indian Airforce, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed how the purchase of 73 LCA Tejas MK 1A along with trainer aircraft (10) for a cost of Rs. 45,696 crores will be gamer changer for India when it comes to being ‘self-reliance’ in defence manufacturing.
Here we shall share everything about the Indian LCA Tejas fighter jet – MK 1A
LCA Tejas – Made-in-India Fighter Jet – A Struggle of 30 years
The indigenously-developed LCA Tejas MK 1A has been designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and manufactured at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. The MK1A is the advanced version of the current MK 1.
Very few countries have been making fighter jet of their own and India is one amongst them after almost 30 years of struggle. The maiden flight of India’s LCA was taken on January 2001 and Atal Bihari Vajpayee christened the fighter jet as ‘Tejas’ – hereon LCA was called as LCA Tejas.
Like Rafale, it is a 4th Generation Aircraft with Critical Operational Capabilities
The multirole fourth-generation aircraft is designed with f advanced features over the existing Light Combative Aircraft variant. This includes improvement in operational roles, mid-air refueling along with improvement in maintainability by the incorporation of BVR (Beyond Visual Range) missile capabilities, updated RWR (Radar Warning Receiver), AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) Radar and EW (Electronic Warfare)
With a Single Engine, LCA Tejas MK 1A is a Fully Weaponised Light Fighter
Even though MK 1A is a light weight short range aircraft, it can easily carry weapons that bigger warplanes carry such as long-range BVR missiles, standoff and precision guided weaponary – enabling to take enemy’s plane from a safer distance.
The light combat aircraft can carry a payload of 3,500 kg and travel at a supersonic speed at all altitudes with a service ceiling of 15km – making it suitable for offensive air support and air combat.
LCA Tejas – From IOC to FOC
The initial operating clearance (IOC) was given to LCA Tejas by the military aviation regulator in 2013 and the final operation clearance (FOC) was awarded to it in 2019. The same year the naval variants of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas successfully performed ‘arrested landings’ as well as ‘night time arrested landings.’ Exactly a year ago on 12 January 2020 this naval variant achieved another milestone when it undertook it’s very first ski-jump take off from INS Vikramaditya.
Now that India with LCA Tejas MK 1A moves towards being a technologically self-reliant nation in defence, it all began in 1983 when DRDO obtained permission to initiate a program to design and develop a Light Combat Aircraft.