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ADA Tejas LCA (Light Combat Aircraft)
Role: multi-role tactical fighter
Builder: Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
Variants: single seat, two seat trainer, naval version
The LCA, or Tejas as it was named, is a small light combat aircraft capable of supersonic speeds. It is designed
to carry out frontline tactical missions and will replace Indian Air Force MiG-21 jets. The project is still in prototype phase and two
Technology Demonstrators have been built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which is
the most important partner of the ADA. The LCA design features numerous modern technologies, like
the digital fly-by-wire control system, multi-mode model, digital 'glass' cockpit,
hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS), FLIR, and static instability.
The aircraft has a delta wing design without any tailplanes or foreplanes and a total
of seven external weapon stations. The LCA will be built with provision for inflight refueling
and software and hardware upgrades.
The two LCA technology demonstrators are powered by the US supplied General Electric GE F404-F2J3 turbofan.
But because of the embargo placed in 1998 by the USA on the engine, the production aircraft
are planned to be fitted with the Indian Kaveri GTX-35VS turbofan. The latter engine is still
in the development phase and undergoing flight tests.
Despite major delays, the technology demonstration phase of the project has been completed and
construction of further prototypes is underday. The first, Prototype Vehicle PV-1, joined the
program in 2003. The fourth LCA, PV-2, was completed in 2005 and was first flown on 1 December 2005.
Five Prototype Vehicles will be constructed, PV-1 thru 4 will be single seat aircraft
equipped with inflight refuelling probes. PV-5
will be a two-seat prototype variant for the trainer. There are also plans for a navalised version
of the LCA which will be qualified for carrier operations.
About 1100 flights will be needed for Initial Operational Clearence which will probably be in 2010.
- Webpages, see related links
- Air Forces Monthly
LCA PV-2 on its first flight