New Delhi, Nov 26 (Inditop.com) The maiden flight of the two-seater trainer version of the indigenous light combat aircraft “Tejas” Thursday was successful, officials said.
The flight took off at 1 p.m. from the airport of Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd at Bangalore.
“It is a two-seater version of the LCA and can be used as trainer. The successful maiden flight covered an altitude of 9 km and a speed of 0.85 Mach,” said a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official.
The prototype was flown by Group Captain Ritu Raj Tyagi of the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC). Air Commodore Rohit Varma, project director (Flight Test), was in the rear seat.
“Extensive preparatory work that has gone in resulted in the first flight profile being executed with clock work precision. All the objectives set out for the flight were achieved and all the systems on board the new prototype performed well throughout the sortie,” said the official.
With the entire fleet of the Indian Air Force’s basic HPT-32 trainer aircraft grounded following successive engine failures, the maiden flight of LCA’s trainer version will give fillip to the search for a replacement of the aircraft.
“The trainer, when fully developed, will have the full operational capability from the rear cockpit as well. As Tejas trainer has a lot of commonality with Tejas Naval version, even Tejas Navy programme would see accelerated progress as a result of the successful first flight,” the official added.
The first eight Tejas aircraft are to be delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy between 2010 and 2012 and will be fitted with the IN20 engines from the US-based General Electric.