Tejas to debut at R-Day parade

Tejas to debut at R-Day parade

 The indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas will make its maiden appearance at the Republic Day parade, signifying India’s self-reliance on critical weapons

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Three fighter jets will take off from the Nal air base near Bikaner and reach New Delhi within minutes for enthralling the audience over Rajpath in a Vic formation.

“Three aircraft from 45 Squadron (Flying Daggers) are already in position at Nal,” Air Commodore Rajiva Ranjan, principal directors (operations and air defence) at the Indian Air Force (IAF) told reporters here on Thursday.

The squadron is currently operating from Bengaluru, but will eventually move to its home base at Sulur near Coimbatore.

In July, the first two Tejas aircraft was inducted into the IAF, operationalising the 45 squadron. The IAF has contracted 123 Tejas in various configurations.

Armed with technology

The three jets were inducted in the initial operational clearance (IOC) configuration, which means these jets are armed with close combat air-to-air missiles, helmet mounted display and precision-guided weapons like laser-guided bombs.

In the final operational clearance (FOC) configuration, the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd will equip Tejas with beyond-visual range (BVR) missiles and air-to-air refuelling capability.
The IAF’s aim is to marry the FOC with LCA Mark-1A version with improved features that may go into production around 2019-20.

The other indigenous fighter aircraft to take part in the Republic Day parade was Marut HF-24, which was inducted in 1967 and phased out by the late 1980s.

“LCA has flown more than 3,000 sorties spanning over 2,000 hours without any accident, which demonstrates the safety of the platform. It also has an auto-relight system to take care of any emergency,” Ranjan said.

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