Tejas is a contemporary aircraft: ADA Programme Director
The light combat aircraft Tejas, as of today, meets the requirements of the Indian Air Force,” the LCA Programme Director of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), P.S. Subramanyam told SP’s M.A.I. in a brief interaction, on the eve of the aircraft getting initial operational clearance, in Bengaluru.
Asked whether any of the suggestions put forth by IAF had remained unfulfilled, Subramanyam drew an analogy by stating “It is like building a house. After you move into it, you will still be making constant improvements.” However, he reiterated that it is one of the most contemporary aircraft.
On the major changes the aircraft, has gone through in its long journey, from concept to now, he said “The fuselage is totally made out of composites and the electronics is top-end and contemporary.” With an open system architecture, he said, it was possible to accommodate changes quickly. Composites helped reduce weight too and the aircraft is the lightest with a gross weight of about 9 tonnes.
“The innovation in the cockpit has been truly significant. It is highly pilot-friendly cockpit with inputs coming from pilots. It is not just pilot-friendly, but also maintenance-friendly as the needs of the engineers and technicians who deal with the aircraft for longer hours than a pilot, have been taken care of.”
The symbology in the cockpit, he mentions, is something unique which the pilots find it easy to grasp. “We have created the cockpit in such a way that the pilots have been saying, ‘It is my cockpit’.” Significant improvements in cockpit ergonomic and lighting system have been accomplished for night flying.
To a question on what was the most difficult part in Tejas, he said designing and developing “the high angle of attack” and that the team developed its own methodology. This has considerably enhanced the combat performance of the aircraft. With flight control systems, the aircraft maintains an angle and in Tejas the team has designed till 24 degrees, while the aircraft in tests has performed upto 22 degrees. “We expect it to be at 26 degrees for the full operational clearance (FOC).” The maximum degrees in a fighter aircraft is said to be 28 degrees and the aircraft is likely to get there.
The aircraft is being produced at HAL and delivery is expected to commence from 2014. After the achievement of IOC II, HAL will go ahead with the series production of Tejas. HAL has already established the structural assembly hangar and the assembly jigs as per international standards.
The first 20 aircraft will be in FOC configuration, he affirmed.