The Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is an indigenous supersonic aircraft used by the Indian military. The Tejas is a fighter-jet and is frequently seen in the news. In this article, you can read all about the LCA Tejas from the IAS exam perspective.
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Latest context on LCA Tejas –
- The naval version of the indigenously built Mk1 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) landed for the first time on an aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya.
- With this India has been taken into a select group of nations — the US, UK, Russia, France, and China — that have developed aircraft capable of landing and taking off from the severely constrained confines of an aircraft carrier deck, which is barely 200 meters long.
- The Naval LCA-Mk1 made its maiden flight in April 2012 and two prototypes have been flying as part of the development.
- INS Vikramaditya (a former Russian ship) is the newest and largest aircraft carrier to join Indian Navy in 2013.
- The Cabinet Committee on Security has recently cleared a deal worth Rs. 48,000 crore for the acquisition of 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft for the Indian Air Force.
- 83 Tejas includes 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 trainer aircraft. MK-1A variant is a improved version of MK-1 with an electronic warfare system, advanced electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, beyond visual range (BVR) missiles and a network warfare system comprising software defined radio (SDR).
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Light Combat Aircraft Tejas
The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme was started by the Government of India in 1984 when they established the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) to manage the LCA programme.
- LCA Tejas was designed and developed by India’s HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited).
- It replaced the ageing Mig 21 fighter planes.
- It was in 2003 that the Light Combat Aircraft programme was named ‘Tejas’ (meaning radiance in Sanskrit) by the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- It is the second supersonic fighter jet that was developed by HAL (the first one being HAL HF-24 Marut).
- LCA Tejas is a single-engine multirole light combat aircraft.
- It is the lightest and smallest multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft in its class.
- It is designed to carry a range of air-to-air, air-to-surface, precision-guided, and standoff weaponry.
- Tejas has a single-engine, compound Delta wing, and has a tailless design.
- The idea behind the LCA programme was to expand and develop India’s indigenous aerospace capabilities.
- Since the 1970s, the MiG 21 planes were the mainstay of the Indian Air Force. The primary goal of the LCA programme was to replace the ageing MiGs.
- The secondary goal was the advancement of indigenous domestic aviation capabilities.
HAL plans to deliver 123 Tejas aircraft to the Indian Air Force by 2024-25.
Planned Variants of Tejas
The following table provides details of the variants of the LCA Tejas planned by HAL.
|Tejas Trainer: 2-seater operational conversion trainer for training air force pilots.||LCA Navy: Twin- and single-seat carrier-capable for the Indian Navy. However, the Navy has declared that the Tejas is too heavy for it to be operational from aircraft carriers (like INS Vikrant, INS Vikramaditya, etc.)|
|LCA Tejas AF MK2: This is an improvement over the LCA Tejas Mk1 with a higher thrust engine.||LCA Tejas Navy MK2: This is phase 2 of the LCA Navy variant.|
LCA Tejas Specifications
Tejas has a maximum payload capacity of 4000 kg. It is a single pilot single-engine aircraft that has a maximum takeoff weight of 13,300 kg. It can attend the maximum speed of Mach 1.8. It has a general range of 850 km and a combat range of 500 km.
Tejas is a low-cost aircraft with a simple design. Hence, it is very attractive to cost-conscious nations in Asia.
Although currently, HAL is not sold to other countries, Singapore, Egypt, Sri Lanka, the UAE, Turkmenistan, and Malaysia have expressed interest in acquiring this aircraft.
Tejas LCA Mk.1A (Light Combat Aircraft) – Latest news
- As per recent media reports, the Government of India may soon give go-ahead for the procurement of 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk.1A.
- The size of the deal is likely to be more than $ 5 billion.
- The manufacturer of Tejas LCA Mk.1A will be Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
- Tejas LCA Mk.1A will be superior over previous variants of LCA Tejas, in terms of avionics, performance, and weapons capabilities.
- Tejas LCA Mk.1A will be able to fire different types of Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles. This proves LCA Tejas Mk.1A will be flexible enough for smooth hardware and software integration, that would be required for carrying a variety of BVR missiles, which are available in the inventory of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
LCA Tejas – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here
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