As has been the practice, the maiden flight of this aircraft was chased by another Tejas aircraft PV3, piloted by Wg Cdr RR Tyagi. The test was conducted from NFTC’s telemetry station, with Wg Cdr M Prabhu, flight test engineer, as the test director. Today’s maiden flight of LSP2 was significant on several accounts. This is the second limited series production aircraft that rolled out of the LSP hangar of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. This is also the first aircraft powered by the new GE404-IN20 engine and also has a new ejection seat version, the Martin Baker Mk 16LG.
The IN20 engine has several improved features over the GE404-F2J3 engines that have been powering the previous Tejas prototypes, like the Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC), increased thrust and life. The aircraft to be delivered to the IAF and Indian Navy will have this engine and hence, this is an important step towards achieving Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and further induction of the aircraft into the IAF and Indian Navy. The flight lasted 43 minutes wherein it covered an altitude of 9.5 km and a speed of 1.1 Mach. This is the second time that a Tejas aircraft has flown supersonic in its very first flight. The tests for the specific flight covered engine handling and check out of aircraft systems within the envelope flown. All the aircraft systems performed well and all the test objectives were fully achieved.