Te­jas team on top gear for full ca­pa­bil­ity clear­ance

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

With the suc­cess­ful completion of ini­tial oper­a­tional clear­ance (IOC), that of­fi­cially sees the LCA Te­jas re­leased for ser­vice with the IAF, Team Te­jas Mk.1 is now gun­ning for an­other, far more im­por­tant mile­stone line—fi­nal oper­a­tional clear­ance (FOC), a demon­stra­tion of all of the plat­form’s stated ca­pa­bil­i­ties across the mis­sion spec­trum. The team now ef­fec­tively has 12 months to achieve and demon­strate a slew of ca­pa­bil­i­ties and per­for­mance pa­ram­e­ters set down in air staff re­quire­ments for the Mk.1.

As it stands, work has al­ready be­gun on the FOC test points, in­clud­ing cru­cial el­e­ments like the in-flight re­fu­elling ca­pa­bil­ity and in­te­gra­tion of a Rus­sian 23mm can­non. For starters, the team will be look­ing to ex­pand the Te­jas Mk.1’s flight en­ve­lope in terms of G per­for­mance and an­gle of at­tack. The stip­u­lated per­for­mance re­quire­ment is for -3.5G to 8G and 24° an­gle of at­tack. This will re­quire an in­cre­men­tal flight test sched­ule, but with­out the lux­ury of time. The test team will also be re­quired to in­te­grate and demon­strate fir­ing of the Is­raeli Derby and Python air-to-air mis­siles.

While the Derby is a BVR mis­sile, the Python is the sec­ond close com­bat heat­seek­ing mis­sile the Te­jas will be ca­pa­ble of de­ploy­ing, fol­low­ing the proven Vym­pel R-73. Next will come the GSh-23 can­non and fresh drop tanks to aid aero­dy­namic per­for­mance in the su­per­sonic flight. As re­ported ear­lier by SP’s, the Te­jas will also be given a new radome to ramp up elec­tro­dy­namic per­for­mance. Work on FOC test points have al­ready be­gun in earnest, and will be spread across three test lo­ca­tions in the coun­try over the next 12 months.

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