Tejas won’t be ready before 2015

For those, who are not aware, Tejas, is a lightweight, multi-role fighter being developed by HAL, India. It is a tailless, compound delta-wing design powered by a single engine. It came from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program, which began in 1980s to replace India’s aging MIG-21 fighters.

It integrates technologies such as relaxed static stability, fly-by-wire flight control system, advanced digital cockpit, multi-mode radar, integrated digital avionics system, advanced composite material structures and a flat rated engine.

I sometimes wonder, how a few adjectives make a really great impact. I mean, I don’t really understand what exactly does the “integrated digital avionics system” mean. What the hell it is integrated with, and do we still have to call a computer “non-digital” in today’s world?

“Advanced Composite material”, it doesn’t exactly say what it does. Seems that, it uses some material, some sort of wood perhaps, mixed with soil, and the mixture is what they refer to the “Advanced Composite Material”.

It was supposed to reach final operational clearance in 2013, and now it seems that it won’t be ready before 2015.

Well, you know, where I stay in Bangalore, my place is a few footsteps away from HAL campus. And, randomly, and very frequently, you could hear a deafening sound all around my place. For the first few days, I thought that sound could be coming from some construction work nearby. But, soon enough, I figured that the sound’s origin was probably from the HAL campus. Well, I don’t really know, because, NAL (National Aerospcae Laboratories) is also nearby. But, I think HAL guys have started testing the Tejas so-called “flat-rated” engine, since, 2015 is not very very far.

Oh, and by the way, there’s yet another organization in close vicinity to the HAL and the NAL campus. It’s called the ADA ( Aeronautical Development Agency). And there’s yet another one, called the ADE (Aeronautical Development Establishment).

A small story regarding the engine: Initially the engine was planned to be developed indigenously, and a factory was also set up for the same. However, after a few years, the scientists realized that they just couldn’t do it. So, they procured it from GE. Those factories are still working on something though, perhaps, trying to copy brand new engines to make the indigenous ones.

Why the hell am I writing about this? 30 years is a long long time. And Tejas, on the face of it, doesn’t seem to be completed in the near future. I guess, they will end up buying some sub-standard outdated fighters from someone. And all the money spent in it’s research and development would go down the drains.

As if the ever rising corruption wasn’t enough, on the other hand,  the government machinery doesn’t even think before wasting it’s citizens’ hard-earned money. I do agree, that there has been a lot of in the field of space and satellite research, but it’s still negligible to the amount of money being spent. We can do better than this for sure. But until we realize or accept that we need to improve, the change is a far away, farther than I can imagine.

2 thoughts on “Tejas won’t be ready before 2015

  1. You know, you can at least consider this time delay given that this is a reasearch project and its India's first hit at an advanced fighter.

    But here's another shocking truth – the deal to buy the Hawk Aircraft from BAE systems was first drafted in 1983. The first team was dispatched in 2005. It surely doesn't take 20 years to sign a deal right??

    Take the latest deal. 90000 crores for the Rafale from France. If this money was pumped into the system, who knows, we could have made our own aircraft in lesser time that it takes to buy it from someone else?

    And the worst bit, as you've mentioned here, is the outdated fighters issue. Rafale is advanced, but not cutting edge. Its a 20 year old airframe. The other countries will never sell their top aircraft to anyone else. America was ready to offer the JSF, but wouldn't even talk about the F-22 Raptor.

    Thanks for writing about this. Its important that the public knows. πŸ™‚

  2. Nice post. I hope our defence industry, especially development of fighter planes can really pick up speed. Of course there has been many phases of technology denials etc. However, we have to circumvent that and become the best.

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