The aircraft made by Hindustan Aeronautics in Bengaluru, Karnataka and after three decades ‘Tejas Light Combat Aircraft is ready to join The Air Force. The acceptance will be officially inducted into the Air Force today on Friday in Bengaluru.
State-run Hindustan Aeronautics says that the air force multiple times shifted the goal post on what exactly it wanted from the jet hence it took 30 years to make and deliver the aircraft.
The manufacturer also says that making was also halted by sanctions imposed by the US after the Pokhran nuclear test in 1998, which placed crucial technology out of reach.
The Air Force initially also insisted that there are better options available in the world market, jets built by manufacturers who have been in the business of military aviation for decades. The Tejas, they have argued in the past, will be obsolete by the time it enters Air Force squadron service.
However, equipped with modern Israeli multi-mode radar, state-of-the-art Derby air-to-air missiles and laced with modern laser designator and targeting pods to hit ground targets, the Tejas is, in many ways, as capable as the French-built Mirage 2000, the aircraft used by HAL as its benchmark.
Every pilot that has tested the jet has says that the Tejas's flight control system is good and it manoeuvres with ease. Not a single Tejas fighter has been lost to an accident during flight tests. More than 3000 sorties of the Tejas fighter have been flown to date.
Confronted by these facts, critics of the jet say the Tejas is not indigenous at all. They point out that the engine is American, its radar and weapons Israeli, its ejection seat British -all which in addition to several other imported systems and subsystems.