New Delhi: In another landmark for indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, the aircraft was successfully started thrice after an overnight soak in the extreme cold of Ladakh, where the temperature dropped to minus 15 degrees Celsius.
"With three consecutive start-ups of its engine after overnight soak in extreme cold conditions of the Ladakh winter, that too without any external assistance, Tejas, the Indian LCA has achieved yet another and a rare distinction," a Defence Ministry statement said here on Wednesday.
"Starting the fighter aircraft under such extreme condition without any external assistance or heating is a technology challenge. The requirements become further stringent when the starting is to be done three times consecutively with a partially charged battery," the statement said.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar earlier this month handed over the first Tejas to Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.
As a single-engine multi-role supersonic fighter, Tejas, which is 60 percent indigenous, is set to replace the IAF`s ageing Russia-made MiG-21 fleet when inducted in six squadrons after defence regulator Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (Cemilac) certifies it for Final Operational Clearance (FOC) later this year.
It has been developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The engine starter has been developed indigenously by HAL Aero Engine Research and Design Centre (AERDC) in Bengaluru.
Prior to aircraft tests, the Jet Fuel Starter (JFS) was extensively tested to meet starting conditions across the operating altitudes including Leh (10,700 feet) and Khardungla (18,300 feet).