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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
Operators: India

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.

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- Air Forces Monthly
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picture copyright Wing Commander R. Nambiar

picture copyright Wing Commander R. Nambiar

picture courtesy of ADA

picture courtesy of ADA

picture courtesy of courtesy of Aeronautical Development Agency, via
LCA PV-2 on its first flight

Copyright 2002-2005 Niels Hillebrand unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.