IAF Chief Flies LCA, Gives It a Thumbs-Up


New Delhi: Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha made a 30-minute sortie in the Light combat Aircraft Tejas on Tuesday and virtually gave the thumbs-up to the indigenous fighter.

“It is my first sortie in Tejas. It is a good aircraft for induction for IAF operations,” he said soon after flying the LCA trainer version at the HAL airport around noon.

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Group Captain M. Rangachari was with him in the twin-seater aircraft.

“The chief [of the Indian Air Force] carried out manoeuvres in the entire flying envelope of the aircraft. He carried out simulated air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks. He also assessed the advanced modes of the radar and the Helmet Mounted Display Sight,” HAL, which is manufacturing the LCA, said in a release.

An ace fighter pilot himself, Air Chief Marshal Raha appreciated the flying qualities of the aircraft. He congratulated the HAL team and others involved in getting the LCA programme to this stage, the release added.

HAL CMD T. Suvarna Raju said, “It is a morale-boosting gesture from the IAF chief and reposes our customer’s great confidence in our abilities.”

HAL has delivered two LCAs to IAF so far and is due to hand over another two this year – in a schedule of 20 aircraft due by 2018-19.

The Air Chief also inaugurated LCA painting hangar at the LCA Tejas Division and visited the LCA production line and other facilities. He took stock of the HTT-40 basic trainer project. The trainer being developed by HAL was parked on the tarmac.