New Delhi: India on Wednesday unveiled for the first time at its Republic Day parade its indigenous Light Combat Aircraft that obtained its initial operational clearance to be fully airworthy on January 10 this year.
The aircraft’s trainer version, which has two-seat tandem configuration, is derived from the fighter version that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is building for the IAF and the Navy.
The LCA Tejas has been in the works for over 27 years and has witnessed a 3,000 percent jump in its development costs. It is likely to be inducted into the air force sometime around December 2012.
The single-engine, multi-role fighter is powered by the US General Electric’s GE-F-404-IN-20 engines.
The IAF has already placed an order for two squadrons (40 aircraft) of the Air Force version of the fighter jet and is expected to acquire five more squadrons (100 aircraft), though these next lot of aircraft would be powered by the more powerful GE-F414 engines for which the DRDO placed orders late last year.
The first two Tejas squadron are likely to be based at the Sulur Air Force Station near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
The cost of the aircraft development has shot up from the initial allocation of Rs 560 crore in 1983 to Rs 17,269 crore at present.