IAF inducts LCA Tejas: All you need to know about the 18 Squadron aircraft
On May 27, 20202, the Indian Air Force (IAF) operationalised its second LCA no. 18 Squadron 'Flying Bullets'. The aircraft is produced by HAL and has all the capabilities of IOC (Initial Operational Clearance) variant. In addition to this, the FOC (Final Operational Clearance) variant comes with air-to-air refuelling capability, close combat gun, additional drop tanks, BVR missile capability, updated avionics and flight control software suite. LCA Tejas is the lightest and smallest aircraft in its group of fourth-generation supersonic combat aircraft.
Air Chief Marshal (ACM) R.K.S. Bhadauria, received the first FOC standard LCA from HAL in a function held at Air Force Station in Tamil Nadu. Before the ceremony, ACM flew an aircraft from the Squadron No. 45 'Flying Draggers'. A prayer was performed before the induction of Tejas into the IAF.
Features of LCA Tejas FOC version:
1- The LCA Tejas has three fixed fuel carrying tanks-- 1200 litres, 800 litres and 725 litres capacity. The 725-litre fuel tank is installed in the central line (centre of the fuselage).
2- The LCA Tejas has a mid-air refuelling system. This means that the aircraft can fly on longer missions without worrying about the fuel.
3- The LCA Tejas is equipped with a Gsh-23 autocannon with a twin-barrel 23 mm gun.
4- The future versions of the LCA Tejas will have an Astra BVR missiles having 110 km range. The present version of LCA Tejas is equipped with Derby BVR from Israel. Astra is Made in India BVR air-to-air missile.
5- The LCA Tejas can manoeuvre from -3G to 8G force at a lower speed. The aircraft will protect itself from the incoming missiles with the help of 8G move without stalling mid-air.
On March 17, 2020, the LCA Tejas FOC made its first successful test flight in Bengaluru. Due to COVID-19 Pandemic and consequential lockdown, the induction of the LCA aircraft was delayed. As per HAL, four more aircraft are in advanced stages of production and are expected to join the IAF soon.