HAL hands over first LCA Tejas twin seater aircraft to IAF

HAL said the twin seater variant has all the capabilities to support the training requirements of the IAF and augments itself to the role of fighter as well in case of necessity

October 04, 2023 03:36 pm | Updated 05:42 pm IST - Bengaluru

In a formal ceremony, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. handed over the first trainer version of the LCA Tejas, in Bengaluru on October 4, 2023. Photo: X/@IAF_MCC

In a formal ceremony, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. handed over the first trainer version of the LCA Tejas, in Bengaluru on October 4, 2023. Photo: X/@IAF_MCC

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) handed over the first LCA Tejas twin seater to the Indian Air Force in the presence of Union Minister of State for Defence & Tourism Ajay Bhatt at a ceremony in Bengaluru on Wednesday, October 4.

The LCA Tejas Twin Seater is a lightweight, all-weather multi-role 4.5 generation aircraft. It is designed to support the training requirements of the IAF and augment itself to the role of a fighter in case of necessity.

It is a huge boost to self-reliance, said the minister in his address to the audience. “I am proud to be part of this historic occasion and salute the spirit of HAL which has been spearheading Swadeshi manufacturing in defence,” he said.

Mr. Bhatt unveiled the twin seater LCA. “In all, the development of LCA Tejas has also brought about a shift in our approach to defence procurement. It has demonstrated that India has the talent, knowledge and capability to design, develop and manufacture world-class fighters,” he added.

More LCAs to be procured

Speaking on the occasion, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said that IAF would be going ahead to procure 97 more LCAs, and with this it will have 220 LCAs in its inventory.

C.B. Ananthakrishnan, CMD (Addl. Charge), HAL said that the company is committed to deliver all the twin-seater aircraft pertaining to Initial Operational Configuration (IOC) and Final Operational Configuration (FOC) contract to IAF in the current financial year.

In a formal ceremony, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. handed over the first trainer version of the LCA Tejas to CAS Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari in the presence of Union Minister of State for Defence & Tourism Ajay Bhatt.

In a formal ceremony, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. handed over the first trainer version of the LCA Tejas to CAS Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari in the presence of Union Minister of State for Defence & Tourism Ajay Bhatt. | Photo Credit: X/@IAF_MCC

“With this, we are moving one step closer towards achieving self-sufficiency on the fixed wing segment. These trainers also ensure smooth transition for the pilots from trainer to fighter aircraft in this class,” he added.

Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, HAL CMD (Addl. Charge) C.B. Ananthakrishnan, Director General, ADA, Girish S. Deodhare, A.P.V.S Prasad, CE (A), CEMILAC, officials from IAF, MoD, DGAQA, DRDO, HAL and production partners attended the event.

The Release to Service Document (RSD) and the Signalling out Certificate (SOC) were also handed over during the event.

Entering the elite club

The LCA Tejas twin seater boasts of technologies such as relaxed static-stability, quadraplex fly-by-wire flight control, carefree manoeuvring, advanced glass cockpit, integrated digital avionics systems and advanced composite materials for the airframe.

The production of the LCA twin seater variant adds India to the list of very few elite countries who have created such a capability and have them operational in their Defence Forces.

IAF had earlier placed orders for 20 IOC standard aircraft and 20 FOC standard aircraft, including eight twin seater trainers. Thirty two Mk-1 single seater aircrafts have already been inducted by the IAF.

In 2021, the Defence Ministry had signed a ₹48,000 crore deal with HAL to supply 83 LCA-Mk1A, a more capable fighter than the current LCA-MK1 in service.

As per contract, three LCA-MK1A are scheduled to be delivered to the IAF in February 2024 and 16 aircraft per year for the subsequent five years.

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