India eyes 2008 maiden flight for naval Tejas
The naval version of India's long-delayed Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) will make its maiden flight by mid-2008, according to a senior programme official. Air force sources, meanwhile, have highlighted new problems with the aircraft.
P S Subramanyam, programme director of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which is overseeing development of the locally designed aircraft, said on 1 September that two naval LCA prototypes capable of carrier operations had been approved. The aircraft have a larger cockpit and canopy than the Tejas designed for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The Indian Navy has a long-standing projected requirement for a mix of 40 two-seat and single-seat LCAs for carrier deployment.
Speaking at the Aeronautical Society of India, Subramanyam also revealed details of the Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA): a twin-engine fighter being developed by the ADA for strike missions.
Planned as an advanced LCA version, the proposed MCA, which is still awaiting governmental approval, would encompass stealth, thrust vectoring and super cruise features.
The ADA is also developing a supersonic lead-in fighter trainer to better prepare combat pilots at affordable prices, Subramanyam said. Official sources have not ruled out an international collaboration on both projects.
Source : Jane's Information Group (Posted : By Rahul Bedi - 10 September 2007)
Image: HAL's Tejas aircraft have undergone almost 750 test flights, but problems persist (aeroindia.org)