By Anantha Krishnan MBangalore: The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) campaign of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is set to gain momentum with the high altitude trials scheduled this week in Leh. Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) Director P.S. Subramanyam told Express on Tuesday that during the Leh trials, the aircraft engine will be started at lower than -10 (minus Ten) degree Celsius. "We will also evaluate the aircraft performance at low temperature and high altitude. This time, we need to also test the performance of various sensors at the hilly terrain," Subramanyam said.
Express News Service
Express News Service
Only one aircraft is participating during the current trials with ground support teams already being positioned at Nasik, Pathankot and Leh. "These trails will not exceed more than a week. We have the next phase of weapon trials in Jamnagar, scheduled in March," the ADA chief said. He said the number of test flights of Tejas dipped in January owing to the preparatory phase for the FOC campaign.
"Various activities for FOC have been initiated much before the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) event in December 2013. Most of the FOC parameters that we need to achieve have reached the half-way mark," he said. Currently the aircraft from the Tejas flight-line are being upgraded to FOC configuration to undertake flight trials.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Chairman R K Tyagi said that production activities at the company's the Light Combat Aircraft (Production Group) unit are pacing ahead as per the plan. "The project progress is being monitored on a daily basis now. We have completed the wings of the first series production (SP-1) aircraft and it has come out with nil deviations," Tyagi said. HAL is mandated to deliver SP-1 in the next three months.
In the FOC phase so far, the aircraft engine was switched on using a jet fuel starter three consecutive times (three times in a row), as mandated by the Indian Air Force (IAF). A rain-proof test was done on the limited series production (LSP-7) aircraft. The aircraft also was subjected to brake tests, while the integration work of the underbelly drop tank has begun at the HAL facility. HAL has also begun training of IAF technicians on the aircraft ahead of the Tejas squadron formation.
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