Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh flies HAL Tejas
Finally the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas that was being made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is becoming a reality. It has been an important step in what will be a critical component of India’s defence future.
What is HAL Tejas?
Tejas is a single-engine, delta wing, multirole light fighter which has been designed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). It employs fourth-generation technology and has been optimized for maneuverability and agility. It comes with a digital fly-by-wire flight control system which helps in handling of the aircraft by the pilot.
Earlier, during the elections, HAL was the but of controversy because of what Rahul Gandhi did and it is important they despite their bad record, HAL got something to cheer about – read this Boeing Gives Rahul Gandhi a Spectacular Lesson into HAL’s Capability.
If one were to compare Tejas with other aircraft, say F-16, then it is far costlier to maintain than either F-16 and has half the life span (20 years) compared to F-16 or Swedish JAS 39 Gripen.
Documents accessed by India Today reveal that the IAF has told the government that the “endurance” of Tejas in combat is just about 59 minutes as against 3 hours of Gripen and nearly 4 fours for the F-16. Also, Tejas can carry a pay-load of about three tons against nearly six tons and seven tons by the Gripen and F-16 respectively.
“In other words, for target that needs about 36 bombs to be destroyed, one will have to deploy six Tejas as against just three Gripen or F-16,” the IAF has told the government. (source)
Overall, the capabilities of Tejas are far behind the other aircrafts of older generations from Lockheed Martin or other foreign manufacturers. But it is a useful first step.
Rajnath Singh flies Tejas
Today the Indian Defense Minister flew in this aircraft. Rajnath Singh became the first Defence Minister to do so. It is said that he even took to the controls for some time.
It is not that HAL Tejas is all useless. It has its strengths and capabilities. Here is a good video to understand the strengths of this Indian fighter plane.
All in all, It is a good first step. And the fact that the Indian Defence Minister flew in it gives even more assurance of its safety and security. Given that it took so many decades, project and cost over-runs to each where it did, what we can all take away from this is how HAL Tejas can lay the foundation of things to come. And kudos to Rajnath Singh, the Indian Defence Minister for putting a focus on it by taking to the skies in it. HAL Tejas beckons a great future for Indian Defence sector.