Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tejas LSP-04 Aircraft to Take off for its First Flight

The dream of having a supersonic fighter jet of indigenous built came one step closer to realisation today when the Limited Series Production Tejas aircraft (LSP-4) took off from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited airport here for its first flight. The aircraft “an equipment standard needed for initial operational clearance” took off at 1110 hrs and landed 40 minutes later.

Test pilot, Group Captain Suneet Krishna, flew the aircraft to an altitude of 11 kms and went supersonic, touching 1.1 Mach speed. Test director, Group Captain D Chakravorty, guided him from the telemetry facility of National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) here.

A fighter plane flies in supersonic speed when it has already accomplished its mission and is being chased by enemy aircrafts. For testing, there was a plane chasing the Tejas LSP-4 during its first test flight. The chase aircraft (Tejas LSP-3) was flown by chief test pilot of NFTC, Group Captain RR Tyagi with Wing Commander Prabhu as the test director.

The radar is mechanically steered and most components are of Indian origin with processor of the radar is of Israeli origin similar to that is found on the EL/M-2032.Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) is working on a much advance Active Electronically Scanner Array radar (AESA) which be much superior to the Hybrid MMR. The new AESA radar is necessary for the Tejas to receive the Final operations clearance (FOC).

 The test flight was supervised by Air Cmde Rohit Varma, Project Director (flight test) at NFTC. The flight was also witnessed by Commodre BS Prahar of the Navy. The Navy has a considerable stake in the Tejas programme as they want to replace their ageing fleet of Sea Harriers with the indigenous fighter. Importantly, the Tejas for the first time flew in the configuration that would be finally delivered to the Indian Air Force.

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