The HAL Tejas is an Indian single-seat, single-jet engine, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Navy. It came from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters. In 2003, the LCA was officially named “Tejas”.
By June 2002, Light Combat Aircraft Tejas (Technology Demonstrator I) successfully completed the first block of 12 test flights demonstrating its soundness of design. The first block of flight tests covered gentle manoeuvres upto 2.5g, left & right rolls, handling quality (HQ) tests, climb upto 8 km, formation flights, tower-fly-by-test, parametric identification manoeuvres, neutral point estimation, air data calibration, landings with/without use of brake parachute and a host of system related tests. The aircraft behaved extremely well and all the test objectives were fully met. Analysis of the test flight results have indicated a reasonably good match between flight tests and design objectives.
Tejas has a tail-less compound delta-wing configuration with a single dorsal fin. This provides for high maneuverability. Its wing root leading edge has a sweep of 50°, the outer wing leading edge has a sweep of 62.5°, and trailing edge forward has a sweep of 4°. It integrates technologies such as relaxed static stability, fly-by-wire flight control system, multi-mode radar, integrated digital avionics system, composite material structures, and a flat rated engine. It is the smallest and lightest in its class of contemporary supersonic combat aircraft.The Tejas is the second supersonic fighter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) after the HAL HF-24 Marut. As of 2016 the Tejas Mark 1 is in production for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the naval version is undergoing flight tests for Indian Navy (IN). The projected requirement for the IAF is 200 single-seat fighters and 20 twin-seat trainers, while the IN expects to operate 40 single-seat fighters. The first Tejas IAF unit, No. 45 Squadron IAF Flying Daggers was formed on 1 July 2016 with two aircraft. Initially being stationed at Bangalore, the first squadron will be placed at its home base at Sulur, Tamil Nadu.