The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA Tejas) Limited Series Production (LSP) 3 aircraft took off for the first time today. This is the ninth test vehicle to join the flight line to undertake development flight trials of the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas towards operational clearance for induction in the IAF by the end of the year. The LSP-3 is a quantum jump in terms of the equipment fit on the aircraft. It is almost the final configuration including the new air-data computers, Israeli Elta multimode radar, new communication and navigation equipment and radar warning receiver. With this successful flight, the LCA programme is very close to Initial Operations Clearance (IOC), to be achieved by December. The remaining effort is mostly flight testing and demonstration of sensors and weapon performance.
The test aircraft was flown by Wg Cdr G Thomas, VM of the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) at ADA. As per procedure the first flight was accompanied by a chase aircraft which was a Tejas Trainer flown by Gp Capt RR Tyagi, the Chief Test Pilot and Wg Cdr (Retd) PK Raveendran SC, the Group Director (Flight Test). The test flight was conducted from the Telemetry station by the Test Director, Wg Cdr S Toffeen, under the supervision of Air Cmde Rohit Varma VM, the Project Director (Flight Test). The flight took off from HAL airport in Bangalore and all the objectives of the flight were met within the duration of 52 minutes.
With this flight the total number of test flights accumulated across nine test vehicles of the Tejas programme has reached one thousand three hundred and fifty and has logged about 800 hrs of flight.
Text Abridged From DRDO Statement
Photos Courtesy DRDO