The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) handed over the first LCA Tejas twin-seater aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) at a ceremony held in Bengaluru on Wednesday, October 4. The event was graced by the presence of Union Minister of State for Defence & Tourism, Ajay Bhatt, who lauded the achievement as a significant milestone in India’s pursuit of self-reliance in defense manufacturing. The LCA Tejas Twin Seater, a lightweight, all-weather multi-role 4.5 generation aircraft, holds the dual capability of serving as a trainer and, when necessary, transforming into a combat fighter. This versatile aircraft is poised to enhance the training requirements of the IAF while seamlessly transitioning into a frontline fighter when called upon.
The ceremony was attended by high-ranking officials from various defense organizations, including the Director-General of ADA, Girish S. Deodhare, A.P.V.S Prasad, CE (A), CEMILAC, and representatives from IAF, MoD, DGAQA, DRDO, HAL, and production partners. During the event, the Release to Service Document (RSD) and the Signalling out Certificate (SOC) were also handed over, marking the aircraft’s readiness for operational use. The LCA Tejas twin-seater is equipped with cutting-edge technologies such as relaxed static stability, quadraplex fly-by-wire flight control, carefree maneuvering, an advanced glass cockpit, integrated digital avionics systems, and the use of advanced composite materials in the airframe.
The HAL Tejas (Radiance) is an Indian single engine, delta wing, light multirole fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. It was developed from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters but later became part of a general fleet modernisation programme. In 2003, the LCA was officially named “Tejas”. It is the smallest and lightest in its class of contemporary supersonic combat aircraft. The Tejas is the second fighter developed by HAL with the intention of attaining supersonic performance, after the HAL HF-24 Marut.
With the successful production of the LCA Tejas twin-seater variant, India joins the elite club of nations capable of designing and deploying such advanced aircraft in their defense forces. To date, the IAF has already inducted 32 Mk-1 single-seater aircraft. Furthermore, in 2021, the Defense Ministry signed a significant ?48,000 crore deal with HAL to supply 83 LCA-Mk1A aircraft, which are even more capable than the current LCA-MK1 in service. Under this contract, the IAF is set to receive three LCA-MK1A aircraft by February 2024, followed by 16 aircraft per year for the subsequent five years. The HAL Tejas, with its impressive track record and continuous development, signifies India’s growing prowess in the field of indigenous defense manufacturing, marking a crucial step towards self-reliance in defense technology and capabilities.