Last minute herculean efforts on in full swing at ASTE, Bengaluru for the squadron induction ceremony of Tejas aircraft.

tejas5Last minute herculean efforts are on in full swing at Aircraft System Testing Establishment (ASTE) for the squadron induction ceremony of Tejas aircraft planned for 1st July 2016. The induction ceremony will be a golden day for the country as its mega ‘Make in India’ mission attains yet another success.

Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhaduria, Deputy Chief of Air Staff, will be the Chief Guest for the ceremony. The maiden squadron is cherished ‘Squadron 45 – the Flying Daggers’ and will be based out of Bengaluru. Group Captain M Rangachari, who is currently associated with the LCA programme at NFTC, will be the maiden Commanding Officer (CO) of the Flying Daggers.

Air Marshal Rakesh Bhaduria himself will be a proud man and will have his own stories to share. Mr. Bhaduria formerly was the Chief Test Pilot and Project Director for the LCA programme at NFTC. During his time at the centre he had exploited the operating envelope of the aircraft in every mission he flew.

The iconic ceremony will also be attended by Air Marshal Jabir Wafia, Air Officer Commanding, Southern Air Command and Air Marshal S R K Naik, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command, Bangalore. The ceremony will also see the attendance of top officials from HAL, ADA and DRDO who will be witnessing another historic event their child – Tejas will be achieving.

The squadron will be raised initially with two aircraft that were cherished SP-1 and SP-2 during their developments. These aircraft have been delivered in their IOC standards. Both these aircraft will be taking a leap to the skies shortly after the induction and perform various aerobatical manoeuvres to prove their might. The maiden squadron will receive definite by 2018 when all the 20 aircraft ordered by the air force will be inducted. The squadron will then trans-locate to Sullur Air Force Base close to Coimbatore.

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Tejas is a 4+ generation, single engine powered, multi-role tactical light combat aircraft. The aircraft features a double-sweep delta wing and is powered by a GE-404 turbofan afterburner engine. The aircraft is primarily an air superiority aircraft but can also perform air support/interdictory mission as and when deemed necessary.

Tejas is a product that was developed under the LCA programme and had its maiden flight on January 4th 2001. Launched in the early 90’s, the programme has helped India realize its mantel in developing complex aeronautical technologies. India also achieved unmatched technological and infrastructural base under the programme. Unmatched know-why knowledge was also gained as the programme matured.

Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) was set-up in 1984 to exclusively manage the LCA programme. HAL has worked as the principal partner and the lead manufacturer for the programme. Various DRDO laboratories and private industries have worked in close knots to develop several state-of-the-art technologies. The Fly-By-Wire, all glass cockpit, advanced avionics systems and mission computers are a few notable technologies that were conquered indigenously.

The aircraft features a staggering 70 % indigenous technology. The aircraft is built extensively using composite materials which have enabled the designers to produce the world’s smallest combat aircraft. Tejas is also dubbed one of best aircraft in its class.

By 2018, Tejas Mk-1A an advanced version of the aircraft is expected to be rolled out. Mk-1A will feature at least 100 developments over the Mk-1 aircraft. The addition of powerful AESA radar system and EW pod systems will make the Mk-1A aircraft an extremely lethal platform. The air force has committed itself to over 120 pieces.

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The induction of the Tejas aircraft into the main folds of the air force is an historic day for the country. India is amongst a select few nations to have successfully developed and deployed a fighter aircraft to guard its national interests. It’s been a treacherous struggle against odds to develop a world-class fighter aircraft like Tejas.

© KARTHIK KAKOOR

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