Page 7 - ScienceIndia Magazine March 2021
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          for Global Sourcing and Technology, The Future and Dynamics of Civil Avi- ation Sector, FICCI Drones & Coun- ter Drone, Opportunities in Defence and Homeland Security, The Future of Conflicts. Airborne Eqpt for the Indian Army PHD & MIDHANI. ‘Bandhan’, a ceremony for signing of MoUs, and Products Launch & announcements/ opportunities for Joint Ventures was also a special feature.
The 4th generation multirole fight- er jet Tejas was flaunted during the air show; the first opportunity to show-
  Above: MiG-21, to replace which the Tejas project was born
each other on this project. However, the first prototype Tejas Mark-1 flew in July 2001. It took 16 years to hand over these aircrafts to IAF — on July 1, 2016, 2-3 aircrafts were handed over to 45 squad- ron to operate from Bengaluru. There- after with more aircrafts, the squadron moved to Sulur air base in Coimbatore. These aircrafts were handed over with Initial Operational Clearance (IOC), so could not be exploited to their full poten- tial. The second squadron was formed in May 2020. These aircrafts were given Fi- nal Operational Clearance (FOC). Thus, 34 aircrafts (32+02) were delivered to the IAF. These aircrafts had a few problem areas which required immediate attention.
(a) Lack of trainer aircraft
(b) Inferior electronic warfare capabilities (c) Ineffective radar warning and missile warning receiver
(d) Empty aircraft was heavier than ac- tual planning
(e) The endurance was less due to lesser capacity of internal fuel tanks and even protection of fuel tanks was inadequate (f) Pilot protection, especially from the front quadrant, was inadequate
(g) It could carry lesser armament than desired
All the above problematic areas will be attended to and Tejas Mk1A, the next upgraded version, will be delivered to the IAF. This will be a 4th generation mul- tirole aircraft. A contract for 83 aircraft
 case it to the world was not wasted. Tejas can be said to be a first big step towards ‘Make for India and Make for the World’, so its display was an important feature of the air show.
Indian Air Force is established for 42 fighter squadrons for defending the country on two fronts. However, the strength of squadron has slowly depleted to 32 because of the phasing out of MIG-21 aircrafts. The life of MIG-21 was extended many times by upgrading the systems till it was not possible anymore. Aircraft replace- ment is a long term and an expensive business and the planning needs to start 10-15 years before the phasing out of an aircraft. Therefore, in 1980s we commenced planning to replace MIGs with LCA, an indigenous Light Combat Aircraft. That is how Tejas project was initiated.
Before we talk about Tejas aircraft we should know about the first Indian
Left: Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv also took part in the air display at Aero India 2021
indigenous fighter aircraft. In June 1961, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) produced Marut HF-24 aircraft. Almost 147 aircrafts were inducted but the air- craft was a failure due its underpowered engine. It was meant to be a supersonic fighter but could not be one. German aeronautical engineer Kurt Tank was the designer of HF-24.
After almost 20 years, India decided to make the fighter Tejas. In 1983, Rs 560 crores were allocated for this project. Hin- dustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Aero- nautical Development Agency (ADA), and Aircraft Research and Design Cen- ter (ARDC) worked in close liaison with
Problematic areas in the first prototype Tejas Mark-1 will be attended to in the next upgraded version, Tejas Mk1A
        Images Courtesy: Internet

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