Second Tejas aircraft breaks sound barrier on maiden flight


Bangalore : The second indigenously developed light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas flew at supersonic speed on its maiden test flight over Bangalore skies Monday evening.

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“This is the second time a Tejas aircraft has flown at a speed of 1.1 Mach (1,320 km per hour) up to an altitude of 9.5 km in a maiden flight lasting 43 minutes,” the state-run Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) said in a statement late Monday.

The limited series production aircraft (LSP2) was flown by ADA’s national flight test centre (NFTC) pilot Wing Commander N. Tiwari. As is the practice, the multi-role fighter aircraft was chased by another Tejas prototype version three (PV-3) piloted by Wing Commander R.R. Tyagi.

The flight test was monitored from NFTC’s telemetry station at the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) airport in the eastern suburb of the city.

“The maiden flight of LSP2 is significant on several accounts. This is the second limited series production aircraft that rolled out of the LSP hangar of HAL. It is also the first aircraft powered by the new GE404-IN20 engine and has a new ejection seat version – the Martin Baker Mk 16LG,” the aerospace agency said.

The first eight Tejas aircraft is to be delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy between 2010 and 2012 and will be fitted with the IN20 engines from the US-based General Electric.