TEJAS is india's indigenous state-of-the-art,multi-role Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) designed and developed to meet the requirements of the Indian Air Force. Its design has been configured to match the demands of modern combat scenario such as speed, acceleration, manoeuvrability, and agility.
Tejas is a single-seat, single-engine, lightweight, highly agile, compound delta wing, tail-less, multi-role supersonic aircraft designed for 'air combat' and 'offensive air support' with 'reconnaissance' and 'anti-shipping' as its secondary role. A GE-F404 F2J3 engine presently powers Tejas. The unstable aerodynamic configuration with associated advanced flight control laws and quadruplex digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System, enables Tejas to perform carefree manoeuvres.
Use of advanced composites to the tune of 45 per cent by weight in the airframe gives the 13 ton class Tejas a high strength-to-weight ratio, long fatigue life and low signature. Its avionics architecture has a three MIL-STD-1553B bus open architecture computing interfaces, new generation glass cockpit, and it provides for a wide range of weapons fit. Utility Systems Management System (USMS) is an integral part of Tejas avionics making it an easy-to-maintain aircraft.
A Naval version of the Tejas capable of operation from an aircraft carrier is also under development. The programme involves building two Naval prototypes capable of ski-jump take off from an aircraft carrier and arrested recovery with an arrester hook engaging deck pendant on board the carrier.
Three Tejas prototypes are flying, with four more, including one trainer aircraft, to follow. Production facilities are being set up for Limited Series Production (LSP) of Tejas at HAL and eight LSP variants of Tejas are also being realised in addition to seven prototypes to lead the aircraft towards its operationalisation and entry into squadron service.
One of the hallmarks of the LCA programme has been parallel development of technologies while developing the aircraft itself. In the process, several cutting-edge technologies have been developed and are being used on the Tejas. Some of these significant technologies and components developed as part of LCA programme have been covered in this issue of Technology Focus.