The first fighter jet to be designed by India, Tejas has been included in the Indian Air Force. The aircraft is built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and is meant to replace the Russian-built Mig-21’s. This is the second fighter jet to be made in India.
Two of the aircrafts have been handed over to the IAF on July 1, and they will be stationed in Bangalore to be a part of the first Tejas squadron called ‘Flying Daggers.’
The Flying Daggers squadron has the SP-1 and SP-2 versions of Tejas. The squadron is expected to reach its full strength between 2018-2020. The IAF expects to include six more Tejas fighters by the end of the current FY.
The commanding captain of the squadron of the squadron will be Group Captain M Rangachari, who will have seven officers, 42 air warriors and 20 commissioned officers under his command. The second stage of the program is said to include 80 aircrafts known as Tejas 1A.
The upgraded version of Tejas will have Active Electrically Scanned Array Radar, mid-air refueling capacity Unified Electronic Warfare Suite and advanced range missiles, and is said to burn a Rs. 300 crore hole in the government’s pockets.
The bird is said to have two variants: single seater and double seater, and is said to be the smallest lightweight, multi-functional, tactical fighter with one engine.
The aircraft is configured and optimized to support maneuverability and be agile in the air. The quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system along with modern air-to-air missiles, backed by a state-of-the-art laser designator locks ground targets efficiently.
The Tejas also uses composite materials for about 45 percent of its frame, making it both light and strong.