New Delhi: The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme today achieved a significant milestone when the fourth of the Limited Series Production aircraft flew at supersonic speed during its maiden flight in the configuration to be delivered to the Indian Air Force.
"This is a significant achievement for us as for the first
time the LSP aircraft has gone supersonic in its maiden
flight," Aeronautical Development Agency Director P
Subramanyam told PTI over phone.
This was also the first time when `Tejas` has flown in the
configuration that will be finally delivered to the IAF,
Defence Ministry officials said.
Under the LCA programme, DRDO will build eight LSPs to
develop and prove the capabilities of the combat aircraft.
The first 40-minute flight of the aircraft LSP-4 took
place at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited airport in
Bangalore today, Defence Ministry officials said here.
"The aircraft took off at 1110 hours and landed 40 minutes
later. The Test Pilot, Group Captain Suneet Krishna, flew the
aircraft to an attitude of 11 kms and went supersonic,
touching 1.1 Mach speed," they added.
The sortie was being followed at the National Flight Test
Centre (NFTC) from its telemetry facility and the chase
aircraft was flown by NFTC Chief Test Pilot Gp Capt R R Tyagi
with Wing Commander Prabhu as the Test Director.
Subramanyam said the Tejas team will now head towards
central India to carry out the hot weather trials of the
Senior scientists from ADA, National Aerospace Laboratory
and Aeronautical Development Establishment were involved in
the development and flight test planning for the newly
integrated flight control software which was used by the
test aircraft today.
Working on the programme since 80s, the DRDO is planning
to get the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) for the Tejas
by 2011, Final Operational Clearance by 2012 and to get the
aircraft ready for induction into the IAF by early 2014.