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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tejas completes advanced weapon trials in Jamnagar

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Three aircraft from Tejas flight-line have successfully completed advanced weapon trials in Jamnagar as part of the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) campaign, which began in December last year. Sources associated with the project confirmed to Express on Wednesday that the integration process of all new weapons on the aircraft has been completed.
"We have fired all the new weapons in all possible release modes and the results have been satisfactory. We have also completed the integration of a new drop tank as part of the FOC activity. With this, we have successfully completed the carriage, fuel transfer and jettison trials," an official, who was part of the Jamnagar trials said. It took three Tejas aircraft (LSP-3, LSP-5 and LSP-7) over 30 sorties to complete the weapon trials.
As part of the FOC, the aircraft is now being readied for all-weather trials in Bangalore. "One aircraft is also being readied for night flying with upgraded systems and software. Plans are afoot to take Tejas for hot weather trials in Gwalior next month," the official added. So far, since its maiden flight on January 4, 2001, Tejas has completed 2587 sorties logging in over 1750 hours of incident-free flying.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Chairman R K Tyagi said that the company is on track in rolling out the first Series Production (SP-1) aircraft. He said ahead of the Initial Operational Clearance in December last year, HAL was working parallel with the Aeronautical Developmental Agency for the finalisation of the production configuration of the aircraft. 
"The first SP-1 is in advanced stages of equipping and we will have the ground run by end of June. The SP-1 should start flying by August. The second, third and fourth production aircraft are in various stages of structural build and we hope to deliver four aircraft in the current year to the Indian Air Force (IAF)," Tyagi said.
Tyagi said that HAL will be pushing for more Tejas orders to be placed on the company. "We as a nation should mandate the use of this aircraft as a replacement of MiG-21. We should go ahead and manufacture around 200 aircraft. That will be a huge boost to India's indigenous manufacturing effort. I am confident when the production rate picks up in future, HAL should be able to manufacture 20 aircraft every year," he said. The IAF has so far placed confirmed orders of 40 Tejas aircraft, with the first 20 to be built as per the IOC standards.
Ahead of the FOC, crucial milestones that the project needs to complete include, integration of the missiles with the radar, integration of Russian-made 23 mm GSH gun, air-to-air refuelling probe, better braking system and change of nose cone radome from composite materials to quartz for an improved range.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

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