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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tejas on campaign mode to complete IOC-2 missions

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: India's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has entered into an aggressive campaign mode to catch-up with the lost time, post Initial Operational Clearance (IOC-1) phase. Sources with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) tell Express that currently eight platforms of Tejas are racing towards completing the parameters of IOC-2.
“Tejas sorties have seen an all-time increase in the last one month. Currently the PV-2, PV-3, LSPs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 7 are flying. All the platforms have come out of the delay and the fuel tank concerns have been addressed. The re-arranging of the butting of fuel and hydraulic pipes is perfect now. We have clocked up to 30 sorties in March and hope to up it further,” HAL sources said.
Team Tejas has lost over six months of crucial time in the flight programme during the last one year, leave alone the overall delay in the programme. The 13th and last aircraft from the Tejas development-phase flight-line (LSP-8) is scheduled to fly in June, while the 12th one flew recently.
Sources say that the Tejas would head for another round of weapon trials in May and June as part of the IOC-2 schedule. “These trials would be spread across Goa, Pokhran, Jaisalmer, Chitradurga among others. K A Muthanna, the head of National Flight Test Centre – the nodal centre for Tejas test-flying – flew the Tejas last week. This was his first flight on Tejas,” sources said.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) too is warming up to raise the Tejas Squadron (Flying Daggers). Express had earlier reported that the IAF wanted HAL-Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) combine to complete the closure of development phase at the end of IOC-2.
Plane photo politics? Sources in HAL say that the company officials have put restrictions on releasing Tejas photos and videos to media and even to Tejas work partners, including ADA. If this bit turns out to be true, then one can expect some 'photo-finish' moments in the days ahead.
Copyright@The New Indian Express 
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