Blast took place during a test on Tejas

Blast took place during a test on Tejas

Part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), LTF was established 10 years ago and sources said that the window panes of the viewing area blew out, when a small, controlled ignition was set off ahead of some confirmatory test part of the certification process of Tejas.

The explosion triggered of splinters in all directions and injured 10 people including four Indian Air Force (IAF) officials and Shankar Bhat, Scientist-G with Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA). Bhat was operated on his left eye at a Bangalore-based hospital on Friday.
Barring two IAF officers, the rest were discharged from hospitals.

According to sources, around 20 people had gathered at the LTF to conduct some confirmatory tests on Tejas’ fuel tank(s). In addition to IAF officials, there were scientists and engineers from ADA, CEMILAC, HAL, CABS and IISc.

A Board of Inquiry has been set up to ascertain the cause of the incident and it is likely to be headed by an IISc expert, a source said, stressing on the fact that the incident occurred before the tests were performed and not during the test.

He said he team was about to test the fuel tanks of Tejas as part of the certification process and since Tejas is an all-weather fighter, they had to see the effects of lighting on the platform.

Intelligence sources who on Thursday informed Deccan Herald of the explosion, mistook the explosion as taking place at HAL as LTF is on the other side of the runway of the HAL airport. HAL officials were unavailable for comments.

However, on Friday it was clear that the explosion occurred outside the limits of HAL in CABS that belongs to DRDO.

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