Aero India: Indigenous Tejas MkI LCA Awaits Final Clearance in 2012
India's indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA), the Tejas, was flown in formation at the Aero India show this month, with a two-seat version was on display in the static park. The Tejas MkI received initial operational clearance in January, and full operational clearance is due next year. Changes in weapons, sensors and avionics will be made according to Indian Air Force (IAF) requirements. The Tejas MkI is powered by a single GE 404-IN20 engine. The Mark II version, displayed at the show in model form, is expected to have a GE F414-IN S6 engine. However, the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has not yet announced the finalization of this contract.
Development of the indigenous Kaveri engine for the LCA has been problematic. DRDO director general Dr. V K Saraswat said that a joint venture with Snecma to produce an 18,000-pound-thrust version of the Kaveri engine is proceeding successfully, and will incorporate the French companyπs single crystal blade technology.
A Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) official reported that the naval prototype of the Tejas LCA is complete, and likely to fly by 2013. It will be powered by the F414.
Meanwhile, HAL's intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) is expected to get initial operational clearance by July. The IJT is expected to replace the HJT-16 Kiran as a stage II trainer in the Indian Air Force. HAL has an order for 159 IJTs, and the first batch of five aircraft is in production.