Defence Reporter

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LCA Tejas to guard borders next year

New Delhi, June 28, 2016: On July 1, IAF would resurrect its 45 Squadron (Flying Daggers) to receive the first two Tejas jets in Bengaluru where the squadron would be based for the next two years before shifting to LCA`s first home in Sulur, Tamil Nadu. The 45 Squadron was number-plated in 2002 when the MiG-21s (type 75) it was flying retired.

Updated:Tuesday, June 28, 2016, 19:39

LCA Tejas to guard borders next yearNew Delhi, June 28, 2016: On July 1, IAF would resurrect its 45 Squadron (Flying Daggers) to receive the first two Tejas jets in Bengaluru where the squadron would be based for the next two years before shifting to LCA`s first home in Sulur, Tamil Nadu. The 45 Squadron was number-plated in 2002 when the MiG-21s (type 75) it was flying retired.

While half-a-dozen aircraft manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd are likely to join the squadron in this fiscal, the full squadron with 20 aircraft (16 single seater and four twin seaters) would be in place by 2017-18.

“They can effectively be put into operational use with existing air-to-air missile and precision-guided ammunition. In the present format, they would be used for close air support. We would be deploying them also in forward bases when we have the first six aircraft in the squadron,” an IAF source said.

LCA Tejas was getting into the IAF war plans, admitted another official, without disclosing the endurance of the indigenous fighter jet. “Almost 3,000 sorties were made by the LCA clocking more than 2,000 flying hours with a clean flight safety record,” he said.

The central government sanctioned the design and development of the LCA in 1983 as a replacement for the Russian-origin MiG-21s, which were to be decommissioned in the 1990s. As the development process hobbled, the IAF had little option but to extend the life of the MiG-21s.

After three decades, the first generation desi fighter jet is ready for induction. The upgrading of the LCA, however, would continue even after these platforms are put to operational use.

Almost Rs 11,000 crore was spent on developing the LCA (excluding the Kaveri engine, Naval LCA and electronics), while the Defence Ministry would spend another Rs 14,000 crore in developing the more advanced versions of LCA and LCA Navy.

The first batch of aircraft in the 45 Squadron will be the Tejas-IOC (initial operational clearance) version that would not be having the beyond-visual-range missile and air-to-air refuelling ability.

These capabilities would be brought in the Tejas-FOC (final operational clearance) version, likely to have its first flight later this year. IAF officials said the Tejas-FOC would be far superior to JF-17 – a Chinese fighter jet being used by the Pakistan Air Force.

Source: Deccan Herald

TAGS: LCA Tejas IAF
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