Three decades after the project started, India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is all set for initial operational clearance and production, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief Avinash Chander said Sunday.
The DRDO got permission to start the programme to design and develop an indigenous Light Combat Aircraft way back in 1983.
“The ten-tonne category indigenous Tejas has gone through the full operational envelop of its speed, angle of attack, different manoeuvres it can make, different types of loads it can carry, weather conditions and high altitude operations,” Chander, who also serves as scientific advisor to the defence minister, said in an interview to the “War and Peace” programme of state-run TV channel Doordarshan News.
“It gives us the confidence that the aircraft is now ready for production (at the facilities of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd). HAL has been chosen as its production agency,” he said.
Chander made it clear that Tejas would continue its production cycles with imported American GE engines.
“If you see the world, aircraft are built around a proven engine and once it is a flying aircraft, we seldom change the engine,” he said.
Asked whether there could be any hurdles in production because of the imported American engines, he said: “Given our relationship with different countries in the world, we don’t anticipate any problems.”
Chander said the indigenous Kaveri engine project would continue for future unmanned aerial vehicles.
“It will be possible for unmanned aerial vehicles to take off from naval platforms like the INS Jalashwa,” he said.
For the next round of indigenous 20-tonne category medium combat aircraft project, India “will go for some technology partnership to develop some new engine of that class of aircraft,” said the DRDO chief.