‘Tejas capable of being backbone of IAF’s combat power’

Bengaluru: Indigenously built Light CombatAircraft-Tejas is capable of being the “backbone” of IAF’s combat power in the years to come, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Chairman and Managing Director T Suvarna Raju said yesterday after flying in it.

Raju flew in the aircraft from HAL Airport here with the twin seat variant of LCA (PV5) piloted by Group Captain KK Venugopal,HAL’s Chief Test Pilot.

“It is a wonderful flying machine, capable of being the backbone of IAF combat power in the years to come,” Raju wasquoted as saying in a HAL release after the sortie.

In various set of manoeuvres, the aircraft climbed to 30,000 feet and accelerated to supersonic speed of 1.1 Mach. This was followed by a simulated launch of BeyondVisual Range missile on a target of opportunity, he said.

The pilot demonstrated the prowess of the aircraft toattack targets on ground and an attack on the ground target was carried out by a simulated laser guided bomb, the state-run HAL said.

The demonstration of manoeuvring capability of the aircraft in close combat situations is an unique experience toeven veteran pilots, it said.

The landing was carried out simulating low visibility conditions using the ‘automatic approach’ mode of the aircraft. HAL said to ensure the speedy deliveries of LCAs, the company has ramped up the production rate to meet the requirement of IAF in association with other industrial partners.

HAL is in talks with IAF for production of 83 more LCAs with upgraded capabilities known as Tejas Mk 1A. The naval version of the indigenously built Tejas LCA had recently undergone a series of successful tests to check its capability to land on an aircraft carrier.