Light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas is the multi-role light fighter that is in development with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and recently showcased its acrobatic skills successfully at Bahrain International Airshow 2016, a first such display outside India.
Though the aircraft has been in development for some years now, India’s southern neighbour Sri Lanka is said to be interested in LCA Tejas, the International Business Times reported. Sources close to India Today have said Sri Lanka could be a possible export customer.
It had been previously reported that Sri Lanka had shown interest in the Sino-Pakistani collaborative multi-role jet fighter JF-17 Thunder, but the country’s defence minister denied such reports. It was also suggested that the one of the reasons for the cancellation could be New Delhi’s “diplomatic missive” deferring it from buying the JF-17 Thunder.
During the recent Bahrain International Airshow 2016, the HAL chief had revealed several countries had enquired about LCA Tejas after its successful showcase.
LCA Tejas was seen performing 8-G (gravity) pull, vertical loop, slow fly-past and barrel roll, and the officials present at the event termed the flight a “historic event”.
Recently, LCA Tejas test-fired Derby Beyond Visual Air-to-Air missile and there will be more such tests.
The aircraft is yet to obtain its Final Operational Clearance (FOC) as it has to receive certification of the integration of Derby BVR missiles and GSh-23 autocannon, air-to-air refuelling probe, increase in the angle of attack, and enhanced braking system quartz model of nose cone radome.
An upgraded LCA Tejas MK-1A will feature modern AESA radar, and aerial refuelling probe better for service maintenance. The Indian Air Force has reportedly ordered over 100 Tejas MK-1As.
The Mark 2 version of the aircraft is a more advanced version that will feature a powerful engine and incorporate fifth-generation jet fighter elements. (Colombo Gazette)