Hindustan LCA / Tejas
In 1983 the LCA, or Tejas as it was named, was conceived by the Indian Air Force to carry out frontline tactical missions and replace Indian Air Force MiG-21 jets. The first LCA prototype (Technology Demonstrator TD-1) rolled out on 17 November 1995. With the first flight of its Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) put back nearly four years after its roll-out, the program appears to be plagued with difficulties and delays. The prototype eventually first flew on 4 January 2001.
The first flight of the LCA had to be postponed until Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) finished development of a new flight control system and system integration test were completed. After again much delay the second prototype (TD-2) made its maiden flight on 6 June 2002, also powered by the GE 404 engine.
The Hindustan Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) had two aircraft flying by the 2003 Paris Air Show and had completed some 80 flights with no major changes required to the airframe. Five prototypes were planned and eight limited series production aircraft were to be delivered in 2006 for evaluation by the Indian Air Force.
Despite major delays, the technology demonstration phase of the project has been completed and construction of further prototypes is underday. The first, Prototype Vehicle PV-1, joined the program in 2003. The fourth LCA, PV-2, was completed in 2005 and was first flown on 1 December 2005.
Built by partners Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the LCA design features digital fly-by-wire control system, multi-mode model, digital 'glass' cockpit, hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS), FLIR, and static instability. The aircraft has a delta wing design without any tailplanes or foreplanes and a total of seven external weapon stations.
The two LCA technology demonstrators were powered by the US supplied General Electric GE F404-F2J3 turbofan. But because of the embargo placed in 1998 by the USA on the engine as a result of the nuclear tests conducted by India in 1998, the production aircraft were planned to be fitted with the Indian Kaveri GTX-35VS turbofan.
The embargo included the Lockheed-Martin fly-by-wire flight control system.
In May 2005, the Tejas flight, now consisting of TD-1, TD-2 and the first Prototype Vehicle PV-1, completed 400 sorties. A fourth prototype, PV-2, was scheduled to make its first flight in June 2005. It has reduced structural weight and new avionics and cockpit displays.
Engine: (prototype) one 80.50 kN (18,100 lb st) General Electric F404-F2J3 turbofan
Length: 13.20m (43 ft 9 in)
Height: 4.40m (14 ft 7 in)
Wing span: 8.20m (26 ft 7 in)
Wing area: 37.5 sq.m / 403.65 sq ft
Empty weight: 5500 kg (12,125 lb)
Max Take-Off Weight: 12500 kg (27,560 lb)
Max level speed at 11.000m (36,000 ft): Mach 1.8 / 1920 km/h / 1195 mph
Service ceiling: 15,250 m (50,000 ft)
Armament: one 23-mm GSh-23 twin-barrel cannon / 220 rounds per gun
External load: 4000 kg (8,820 lb)
External stations: 7