Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) handed the Indian Air Force (IAF) its inaugural LCA Tejas twin-seater aircraft on Wednesday. This state-of-the-art 4.5 generation aircraft, designed for multi-role capabilities, will significantly bolster training for IAF pilots and can serve as a fighter when required.
The Tejas twin-seater combines modern technologies, including quadraplex fly-by-wire control, carefree manoeuvering, an advanced glass cockpit, integrated digital avionics, and sophisticated composite materials. This achievement positions India among a select group of nations with such advanced aeronautical capabilities, further advancing the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative.
HAL emphasised the twin-seater’s strategic design to transition pilots from training to fighter roles. The company anticipates delivering eight of the 18 ordered twin-seaters to the IAF in 2023-24, with the remaining ten by 2026-27. Additional orders from IAF are anticipated.
Union Defence Minister of State, Ajay Bhatt, unveiled the LCA twin-seater in a ceremonial event. He highlighted this development as evidence of India’s capability to produce world-class fighters. Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari confirmed IAF’s intent to procure another 97 LCAs, bringing their total to 220.
C B Ananthakrishnan, the interim CMD of HAL, pledged to fulfil all twin-seater orders for the IAF this fiscal year. He stated that such advancements edge India closer to self-sufficiency in the fixed-wing segment, ensuring smoother transitions for pilots from trainers to fighter jets.
HAL has also engaged in discussions to export the LCA Tejas platform globally. They view Tejas as a cornerstone for achieving India’s export targets.
Historically, the LCA Tejas program represents India’s most ambitious R&D venture. Since its maiden flight in 2001, Tejas is set to become the IAF’s backbone.