TEJAS : Light Combat Aircraft

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INTRODUCTION
India has indigenously developed a Light Combat Aircraft named Tejas. The supersonic fourth generation fighter will form a 200-strong fleet for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to replace its ageing Russian-made MiG-21 fleet.
WHAT IS TEJAS ?
Tejas is a type of Light Combat Aircraft indigenously built in India.
The aircraft with delta wing is designed for ‘air combat’ and ‘offensive air support’ with ‘reconnaissance’ and ‘anti-ship’ as its secondary roles.
It has recently got Initial Operational Clearance (IOC).
In short, Tejas is India’s very own first fighter aircraft.
'Tejas' is the smallest, light weight, single engine, single seat, supersonic, multirole, combat aircraft, best in its class in the world.
This fourth generation combat aircraft has Carbon Composites, light weight/high strength material for primary structures, quadruplex Digital Flight Control System, glass Cockpit and digital Avionics to give multirole capabilities with carefree maneuvering.
It has GE-F404 Engine.
Some more Facilities: Tejas has tailless compound delta configuration. It is aerodynamically optimized for good transonic manoeuvres and low supersonic drag. Tejas avionics has a unique built-in feature of monitoring health of on-board Systems and displaying appropriate warnings to the Pilot. A number of software packages as well as design and analysis tools have been developed under 'Tejas' Programme.
Cost of each Tejas is around Rs. 200 crores.
Development of Tejas Mark 2 aircraft with alternate engine GE-F414 has been initiated.
The aircraft can fly at a maximum speed of 2,205km/h and at maximum altitude of 15,200m. The range of the aircraft is 3,000km. Its service ceiling is 16,500m. The aircraft weighs around 5,450kg and its maximum take-off weight is 13,500kg.
Another feature that is special to Tejas is the 'unstable configuration' technique with which it has been built. 'To explain it in lay-man terms, between a bike and a car, a car is much more stable, but is unable to exhibit the same manoeuvrability as a bike. Combat aircraft need to be highly manoeuvrable.' To strike a balance between the two aspects was a big technological challenge for the DRDO.
ABOUT TEJAS PROGRAM
'Tejas' Programme is spearheaded by Aeronautical Development Agency under the Ministry of Defence R & D, with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as its principal partner and with participation of a large number of Laboratories of Defence Research & Development Organisation and Central Scientific & Industrial Research, certification agencies, Indian Air Force, academic institutions and Private/Public Sector Undertakings.
Overall funds allocation for development and production of Tejas is of the order of Rs 25000/- crores.
VARIANTS IN TEJAS
Combat Variant – For defense and offence purposes.
Trainer Variant – For training purpose.
Naval Variant – Aircraft compatible for Indian Navy
HOW COME TEJAS GOT INITIAL OPERATIONAL CLEARANCE
Tejas incorporates a wide range of advanced Sensors, Weapons, Stores and Electronic Warfare suite.
Air-to-Ground Weapons and Air-to-Air Close Combat Missiles can be released by Tajas.
Hot & cold weather trials of it have been completed.
Also, high altitude trails & night flying trails have been completed by Tejas.
The additional weapons beyond Visual Range, Gun, Rockets, Guided & Un- Guided Bombs on Tejas are integrated.
WHAT TEJAS HAS TO DO FOR FULL OPERATIONAL CLEARANCE
It should be able to do following things:
Capability of firing beyond visual range missiles
Ability to increase the angle of attack by about 6 degrees.
Ability to take stress from six to eight times the force of gravity
Mid-air refueling capability
ABOUT BEING INDIGENOUS
Tejas can’t be called totally Indian made.
According to DRDO, Tejas is for now 65% Indian made.
But defense minister has promised that by the time Tejas gets Final Operational Clearance, its indigenization would be around 75%.
Main concern – The powerful engine it requires. For now, that engine is being made by an American Company named General Electric (GE).
DRDO is in the process of making Kaveri engine. It would replace the current GE’s engine of Tajas with itself in the future.
Analyst says that no country goes for 100% indigenization as it is not cost effective and requires huge infrastructure.
Hence, he explained that the main structure and sub-systems of the aircraft are indigenized and the remaining parts are imported.
ABOUT KAVERI ENGINE
Kaveri engine is an indigenous engine.
Kaveri engine is being developed to be used in fighter aircraft’s in India.
It was not used in the current Tejas because of 20 years of delay in its development programme.
It is currently being tested in Russia & will be brought back to India after certification.
It is being developed by Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE). Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) is a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Located in Bangalore, its primary function is research and development of aero gas-turbines for military aircraft.
The Kaveri’s last big activity was in 2011, when it took a flight test in Russia fitted on the Il-76 transport plane. Although 90 per cent of the flight envelop was covered, at least five problems showed up, according to scientists.
This program was halted for some time & was recently revived in October 2013. (Stopped because of developmental problems & lack of funds which amount to Rs.2100 crores.
Next year, the GTRE plans to show the engine’s performance first on an Il- 76 plane and then as the second engine fitted on a twin-engined fighter like MiG-29. It would be tuned to certification standards.
In 2008, Kaveri was de-linked from its original platform, the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) because of the delay & it failed to meet the technical demands.
ABOUT THE INDIAN AIR FORCE
It has asked for an order of 40 Tejas.
From this order, 20 would be Tejas Mk1 (Mark 1) & 20 would be Tejas Mk2 (Mark 2).
Tejas Mark 2 aircraft will have an alternate engine GE-F414.
The maiden flight of Tejas Mk2 is scheduled for 2014.
ROLE OUT PLAN OF TEJAS
Full Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) - End 2013
Full FOC (Full Operational Clearance) –End 2015
Completion of Deliveries Tejas Mk-1 – 2020
Tejas Mk-2 First Flight –2017
Programme for Tejas Mk-2-2020
Entry into Service Tejas Mk-2 –2024
Completion of Deliveries Tejas Mk-2-2030
ADVANTAGES OF TEJAS TO INDIA
It won’t be necessary for India now to use its important foreign currency to purchase aircrafts from foreign countries.
Tejas will be able to replace the old Russian Mig Series aircraft’s.
SOME MORE DEVELOPMENTS
The Indian Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is carrying out a conceptual design study of the ADA medium combat aircraft, which will be an advanced, stealthy version of the Tejas, to replace the Indian Air Force Jaguar and Mirage 2000 fleet.
The medium combat aircraft has two engines with fully vectoring nozzles and no vertical or horizontal tail.
GENERATIONS OF FIGHTER JETS
First Generation Fighter Jets: It includes those fighter jets which belong to the period from 1945 to 1955.
Second Generation Fighter Jets: It includes those fighter jets which belong to the period from 1955 to 1965.
Third Generation Fighter Jets : It includes those fighter jets which belong to the period from 1965 to 1980.
Fourth Generation Fighter Jets : It includes those fighter jets which belong to the period from 1980 to 2010.
Fifth Generation Fighter Jets: It includes those fighter jets which belong to the period from 2010 to 2025.
Sixth Generation Fighter Jets: It includes those fighter jets which belong to the period from 2025 & beyond.
Practice Questions
Q1
Q.no:-1/5
 

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