India to hard sell Tejas at air show

India to hard sell Tejas at air show

India to hard sell Tejas at air show

India will showcase and hard sell its indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas at an air show here in February to prospective buyers from overseas, a top official said Wednesday.

"Tejas will be on flying and static display at the Aero India Show here from Feb 18-22 to solicit foreign buyers, as we have started producing them (fighters) for the Indian Air Force (IAF)," state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd's (HAL) outgoing chairman R.K. Tyagi told reporters here.

The defence behemoth will also display military and civil variants of its Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv at the biennial international event in which producers, buyers, users and other stakeholders from the world over would participate.

The multi-role fighter is part of the first series production for induction into the IAF fleet.
"We have handed over the first aircraft (Mark-1 version) to IAF recently (Jan 17). Prospective buyers will be briefed on the fighter's unique features and abilities in combat role," Tyagi said on the occasion.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also handed over the technical documents of the home grown LCA to Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha here, though the fighter is yet to secure the final operation clearance (FOC) from the military regulator.

As a single engine multi-role supersonic fighter, Tejas will replace the IAF's ageing Russian-made MiG-21 fleet. The former will be inducted in six squadrons after the defence regulator, the Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (Cemilac) releases the FOC later this year.

The fourth generation fighter received the initial operational clearance (IOC-2) in December 2013 for evaluation by IAF ace pilots on various parameters.

Weighing 8.5 tonnes, Tejas can carry three tonnes of weapons, including air-to-air missiles, laser guided bombs, guns, conventional/retarded bombs and beyond visual range missiles.

Tejas is also fitted with digital fly-by-wire system, flight control systems and open architecture computer.

Each squadron will have 20 fighters and will be based at Sulur Air Force base near Coimbatore in southern Tamil Nadu.

In the design and development stage, HAL produced 15 LCA aircraft, including seven in the limited series production, two technology demonstrators, three prototypes, two trainer prototypes and one naval prototype.

Designed and developed by the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and its aeronautical agencies over the last three decades, the LCA project overran estimated budgetary costs and deadlines.

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