By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) chief P S Subramaniam says that Tejas is completely battle-ready and its increased number of flights in the last 3 years (over 1000) is a testimony to the maintenance, safety and operation features of the aircraft. In an interview to Express on Thursday, Subramaniam said that the Tejas has proved its flying capabilities at all important Indian Air Force (IAF) and a couple of naval bases.
“This year we have touched almost 50 flights and have conducted outstation trials at Jamnagar, Jaisalmer, Gwalior, Leh, Utterlai (near Jodhpur) and Goa. The aircraft has demonstrated the capabilities to operate like a typical squadron. On many occasions the same aircraft has flown more than once in a day. Many have accused us in the past that Tejas was not capable of flying more than once in day. But we have demonstrated flying thrice in a day, which is a pointer towards the ease at which it can be serviced,” the ADA chief said.
He said many local IAF technicians have appreciated the flying and serviceable qualities of Tejas, which was against the general opinion. “Today, the product speaks for itself and we were all glued to improvising its performance for the last many years. The weapon delivery capabilities of Tejas in many modes were demonstrated and over a dozen times we have fired the R-73 E missile. The electronic warfare trials were also conducted at an IAF base in central India,” Subramaniam said.
He said the Tejas is fully battle ready and over the years his team has converted it into a fighting machine from a flying machine. “The IAF is convinced today that they are accepting an aircraft which is completely combat ready. The IAF team in ADA interacted constantly with us to make sure that they get a maintenance-friendly aircraft. The IAF wanted us to cut down the servicing time, which has been done on priority. Today, if Tejas goes for a combat mission, it can be readied for another mission within an hour’s time,” Subramanian said.
The ground support equipment specifications have also been evolved. There are about 20 major ground equipment developed for Tejas. “We have also made some new tools for the IAF technicians and many of their concepts have been incorporated. Today Tejas is a fighter evolved from hundreds of feedback we received from designers, engineers, pilots and technicians. We have gone through the motions of making a new generation fighter and faced many difficulties. The induction of Tejas into IAF will being soon and that should silence most of the critics. Plane-making a serious business and making military platforms is a complex exercise. We have covered some distance and Tejas is the answer,” he said.
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