Bangalore, India | June 14, 2010
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will form the first squadron of the light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas in Bangalore next year before it is moved to Sulur, IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal P.K. Barbora tells AVIATION WEEK. (Sulur is located near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.) The initial formation of the LCA squadron in Bangalore is primarily due to IAF’s proximity to the aircraft’s designer, the Aeronautical Development Agency; its manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL); and IAF’s test pilots’ unit, the Aircraft System Testing Establishment. In addition, the National Flight Test Center (NFTC), which is monitoring all LCA-related flying activities, is also within HAL’s military airport. "Training becomes easier in Bangalore for the IAF pilots on the new platform. In addition, any teething problems that the pilots might face while getting accustomed to Tejas can be sorted out before they move to Sulur,” an NFTC source says.
Phase-II hot-weather trials over: Meanwhile, Tejas crossed a significant hurdle when two LCAs successfully performed in hot-weather trials (HWTs) at Nagpur last week. Sources told AVIATION WEEK that the week-long HWTs were part of Tejas’ phase II schedule. The first phase was completed in 2008. “All new systems onboard and avionics were tested with temperatures varying from 40 to 45 degrees Celsius (104 to 114 deg. F.). We had absolutely no issues with these flights, and both platforms rose to the occasion and performed as expected. We had close to 10 flights as part of the trials,” a source says. Confirming the successful HWTs, P.S. Subramanyam, program director for combat aircraft and director of the Aeronautics Development Agency, says that one limited series production-3 aircraft and another prototype vehicle-3 from the Tejas fleet were part of the HWTs at Nagpur.
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