Indian-made fighter plane Tejas clocks fastest speed

December 8th, 2009 - 6:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Dec 8 (IANS) Light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas notched a speed of over 1,350 km per hour — the fastest by an indigenously-made fighter aircraft — during its sea level flight trials off Goa Tuesday, a senior Indian Air Force official said.
Tejas which is undergoing rigorous testing in saline, humid marine conditions in and off the coast of Goa, had performed admirably in the two-week long trials in Goa, Air Commodore Rohit Varma who is also the commanding officer of the Bangalore-based National Flight Testing Centre (NFTC) told reporters at the INS Hansa naval base Tuesday.

“The trials which lasted for two weeks comprised of flutter clearances, weapons firing, performance, stability and avionics validation. The LCA is the first supersonic fighter being manufactured indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL),” Varma, an elite pilot himself, said.

As part of the initial operational clearance, the Aeronautics Development Agency (ADA) had inducted three aircraft to Goa for conducting various sea-level flight tests, he said.

Varma also said that the LCA had already been tested in other extreme atmospheric conditions.

“Tejas has already been tested for high altitude and cold climate at Leh and in the desert environment of Rajasthan,” he said. “During the trials Tejas clocked in excess of 1,350 kmph,” Varma said, adding that the ADA in tandem with HAL was also in the process of manufacturing a naval version of the LCA.

“While the present trials are in progress for the air force version, the first prototype aircraft for the navy is also under production. The LCA-navy will be capable of taking off and landing on an aircraft carrier,” he said.

The LCA is expected to cost Rs.150 crore per aircraft and will find its home at the Sulur air force base near Coimbatore. The Indian Air Force has already ordered 20 LCAs from HAL, which will be delivered to them by 2013.

Air Vice Marshal Shankar Mani, who was also present during the media briefing, said the IAF could place a further order of 20 more LCAs after the first order.

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