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The HAL Tejas (Hindi pronunciation: t̪eːdʒəs) is an Indian single-seat, single-jet engine, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Navy. The aircraft has a tail-less compound delta-wing configuration, which provides for high maneuverability.[better source needed] It came from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India's ageing MiG-21 fighters. In 2003, the LCA was officially named "Tejas", which means "Radiant" in Sanskrit, by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Tejas has a pure double delta wing configuration (wing root leading edge sweep 50°, outer wing leading edge sweep 62.5° and trailing edge forward sweep 4°), with no tailplanes or canard, and a single dorsal fin. It integrates technologies such as relaxed static stability, fly-by-wire flight control system, multi-mode radar, integrated digital avionics system, composite material structures, and a flat rated engine. It is the smallest and lightest in its class of contemporary supersonic combat aircraft.
The Tejas is the second supersonic fighter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) after the HAL HF-24 Marut. As of 2016 the Tejas Mark 1 is in production for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the naval version is undergoing flight tests for Indian Navy (IN). The projected requirement for the IAF is 200 single-seat fighters and 20 twin-seat trainers, while the IN expects to operate 40 single-seat fighters as a replacement for its Sea Harrier FRS.51s and Harrier T.60s. The first Tejas IAF unit, No. 45 Squadron IAF Flying Daggers was formed on July 1st 2016 with two aircraft. Initially being stationed at Bangalore, the first squadron will be placed at its home base at Sulur, Tamil Nadu.
The Minister of State for Defence, Subhash Bhamre, reported to parliament that the indigenous content of the Tejas is 59.7% by value and 75.5% by number of line replaceable units.
Indian Air Force variants
- Tejas Mk.1: Single-seat operational variant for Indian Air Force.
- Tejas Trainer: Two-seat operational conversion trainer for the Indian Air Force.
- Tejas Mk.1A: HAL is now working on developing a new variant named Tejas Mk.1A which will be equipped with an advanced AESA Radar and an electro-optic Electronic Warfare (EW) sensor suite. It will also incorporate weight reduction along with easier service maintainability which will thus reduce downtime of each aircraft. It will also have a mid-air refuelling probe to enhance its endurance and operational range. The timeline for this variant has been set at 2017. On October 25th, 2015, it was reported that 100 Tejas aircraft will be equipped with an improved version of the EL/M-2052 AESA radar being developed jointly by Elta and HAL. On December 20th 2017, IAF initiated tender to buy 83 Mk.1A worth 33,200 crore from HAL.
- Tejas Mk.2: The Tejas Mk 2 is to feature the more powerful General Electric F414-GE-INS6 engine with 98 kN of thrust. The Ministry of Defence had sanctioned US$542.44 million (Rs 2,431.55-crore) for ADA to develop the IAF's Tejas Mk.2 variant. In December 2008, the IAF committed to procuring an initial 105 Tejas Mk.2s. The Mk.2 will also see the incorporation of a new electronic warfare suite which is being jointly developed with Israel. This is to have a new glass cockpit with larger 8 x 12 inch displays. The Mk.2 will have some 25–30 percent commonality in parts with the Mk.1 and these parts are already in production. The Mk.2 is scheduled for flight testing by 2018, but this may be delayed by two or three more years to allow time to engineer the installation of the GE F414 engine. In August 2015, the Indian defense minister stated the first flight is likely to be in 2019 with an entry into service in 2022. According to DRDO chairman S. Christopher in 2018, the IAF has committed to procuring 201 Tejas Mk 2 aircraft
- Tejas Mk.1 Navy: Single seat prototypes (NP1 & NP2) powered by F404 engines are used for the initial testing. The Naval variant of Tejas successfully completed testing in Goa during which the short take off (200 meter) from Shore Based Test Facility were carried out along with hot refueling. The flight test from aircraft carrier is scheduled for 2017. In December 2016, the navy stated that the aircraft is overweight for carrier operations.
- Tejas Trainer IN: Two-seat operational conversion trainer for the Indian Navy.
- Tejas Mk.2 Navy: Twin- and single-seat carrier-capable variants of the Tejas Mk.2 for the Indian Navy. It will be equipped for carrier operation with ski-jump take-off and arrested landing. It will include strengthened airframe and landing gear and drooped nose for better cockpit vision.