IAF to induct 1st squadron of Tejas on friday
NEW DELHI: After a more than three-decade-long wait, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will have its first squadron of indigenously-built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas on Friday. State-run HAL will hand over the first two Tejas aircraft to the IAF on July 1 which will make up the ‘Flying Daggers’ 45 — the name of the first squadron of the LCA. It will be based in Bengaluru for the first two years before being moved to Sulur in Tamil Nadu.
The IAF is targeting six aircraft this financial year and about eight in the next. Highly placed sources in the IAF claimed that Tejas will feature in the combat plan of the IAF next year and will be deployed in forward bases also. The IAF had highlighted 43 deficiencies in the fighter related to critical flight safety norms, which are now reduced to 18.
Asked how the aircraft fared in comparison to JF 17, jointly developed and built by Pakistan and China, the IAF said Tejas was “better”. “It is a better one since it’s mostly made of composite which makes it light and very agile. It also comes with smart ammunitions and bombs which help it to hit targets in a precise manner,” a source said.
Sources also said that Tejas will replace the MiG 21s and will be used for air-to-air fight and ground attack and could also act as a complement to bigger fighter planes such as Su 30 MKI.
All squadrons of Tejas will be made up of 20 planes in total, including four in reserve. As per the plan, while 20 would be inducted under the ‘Initial Operational Clearance’, another 20 will be inducted later with Beyond Visual Range Missile. The IAF plans to induct over 80 aircraft with better specifications known as Tejas 1A. Tejas is also equipped with helmet-mounted display and fly-by-wire, a semi-automatic system for controlling the flight of an aircraft which makes it a 4.5 generation plane.