New Delhi, Jan 19: India's indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas will make its debut run in the Republic Day Parade this year, the Indian Air Force (IAF) announced on Thursday. Besides Tejas, the flypast will include Su-30 aircraft in Trishul formation and also a high speed run by a single Su-30, followed by vertical Charlie, which means the aircraft will virtually stand in the air.
Tejas has earlier flown at Indian Air Force Day last year, when its maneuvers left the spectators spellbound. It was also flown at the IAF's fire power demonstration Iron Fist, Aero India, and the Bahrain International Airshow.
At the Air Force Day, on October 8, 2016, the flight by Tejas included a steep pull right after the takeoff, that demonstrated the aircraft's ability to climb rapidly to desired altitude, with the aircraft standing vertical in air to the awe of the spectators. The pilot also performed a loop, took a fast turn at a rate of approximately 20 degrees per second, and took turn at a speed as low as 160 knots, displaying the aircraft's capabilities.
In May 2016, it was flown by the then Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, when Raha carried out manoeuvers in the flying envelope of the aircraft, simulated air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks and assessed the advanced modes of the radar and helmet mounted display sight.
Indigenously developed Tejas fighter jet was inducted in the IAF in July 2016 with two aircraft. The plan is to increase the production of aircraft from the present eight to 16 aircraft each year. While at present it has only an initial operational clearance, a Final Operational Clearance is likely to be accorded to the aircraft in a few months.
The IAF plans to induct 120 Tejas fighters to replace Mig-21s, including 100 of modified versions in its frontline fleet.
As a fourth generation aircraft, Tejas can fly at 1,350 km per hour and is comparable to the world's best fighters, including French Mirage 2000, American F-16 and Swedish Gripen. As a single-engine, multi-role supersonic fighter, Tejas weighs 8.5 tonnes and can carry three tonnes of weapons, including air-to-air missiles, laser guided bombs, guns, conventional/retarded bombs and beyond visual range missiles.