|A file photo of Tejas firing R-73 during weapon trials. The aircraft is|
expected to fire R-73 E missile during the ongoing Jamnagar trials.
Sources confirm to Express that the Ministry of Defence has made it clear to both Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) that the IOC-2 deadline won't be extended any more. The IAF pilots will formally get to fly Tejas after the IOC-2 declaration. So far, the Tejas variants have completed 2391 sorties, clocking 1,520 hours in over 12 years.
Currently the fine tuning of the software and various onboard systems are being done during various trials. Flight trials are also progressing in Bangalore with the final version of equipment and mission systems getting a relook. “We haven't been lagging on any of the IOC-2 parameters now. We are working to clear all the test points. The results of Jamnagar trials will be crucial,” says an HAL official working with the Aircraft Research and Design Centre.
“Every weapon has to be fired at different modes, expanding the flight envelope of the aircraft. It is a huge matrix and we have to tick-mark all points ahead of the IOC-2 closure. A final review is expected next month ahead of IOC-2,” the official added.
Sources say that the Digital Flight Control Computer and Air Data Computer of Tejas have been showing hardware failures causing last-minute concerns to the engineers. “But the show must go on. Now the naval prototype of Tejas (NP1) is also ready with all its modifications and raring to go. The modified Tejas trainer (PV5) with its matured software is also ready,” an official said.
The growing differences between HAL and the Indian Air Force are a concern to New Delhi, which is bent on the programme getting the IOC-2 tag before December. The Finance Ministry's refusal to grant pension to ADA employees recently (a long-pending demand) has also created heartburn to many working on the Tejas project.
Notwithstanding the turmoils and delays the project has been facing recently, a Defence Research and Development Organisation official said December 20 has been tentatively fixed for IOC-2. “As of now that's the date floating around, and it is subject to change,” the official added.