Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) chairman and managing director, T Suvarna Raju, flew Tejas, the indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), from the HAL airport here on Wednesday. The twin-seat variant of the LCA (PV5) was piloted by Group Captain KK Venugopal, the HAL’s Chief Test Pilot.
As part of the manoeuvres, the aircraft climbed to 30,000 feet and accelerated to the supersonic speed of 1.1 Mach. This was followed by a simulated launch of Beyond Visual Range missile on a target of opportunity. After the sortie, Raju said the aircraft was capable of being the backbone of the Indian Air Force (IAF) combat power in the years to come.
The pilot demonstrated the prowess of the aircraft to attack targets the on ground. An attack on the ground target was carried out by a simulated laser-guided bomb. The demonstration of manoeuvring capability of the aircraft in close combat situations a unique experience to even veteran pilots. The landing was carried out simulating low visibility conditions using the ‘automatic approach’ mode of the aircraft.
To ensure speedy deliveries of the LCAs, the HAL has ramped up the production rate to meet the requirement of the IAF in association with other industrial partners. The HAL is in talks with the IAF for production of 83 more LCAs with upgraded capabilities known as Tejas Mk 1A.