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.

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