New Delhi:�The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), which will operate from India�s indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, after it is commissioned in 2018, has completed a successful flight-test campaign in Goa.
CD Balaji, chief of the Aeronautical Development Agency , which oversees the Tejas development programme, told Business Standard that taking off and landing from a 200-metre deck has been fully established. So has �hot-refuelling� � topping up the aircraft after a sortie with the engine running and the pilot in the cockpit � which allows a rapid turnaround between sorties.
For the navy, it is vital to ready the Tejas for the INS Vikrant and, subsequently, INS Vishal.
The MiG-29K will be the medium fighter on INS Vikrant, as it already is on INS Vikramaditya.
The Tejas is crucial for filling in the light fighter slot. Balaji reveals a committed navy is funding 40 per cent of the development cost of the Naval Tejas. The MoD has allocated Rs 3,650 crore for the naval programme.
The Naval Tejas demonstrated its �fuel jettison� capability � a safety feature that allows the fighter to quickly jettison on-board fuel if it encounters a problem soon after launch and must quickly return for an emergency landing on the carrier.
�By mid-2017, we will have established on the SBTF that the Naval Tejas can be flown off an actual carrier, and we will then graduate to ship-based testing. We currently have two prototypes in testing, and will build a third by then�, says a satisfied ADA chief.