TEJAS : Light Combat Aircraft
⇒ 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
⇒ 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
⇒ 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.
⇒ 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
⇒ 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.
⇒ 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.