Photo Courtesy - Shiv Aroor @ LiveFist
BANGALORE: The first flight of Tejas Aircraft LSP-4 (Limited Series Production aircraft) took to the skies on Wednesday, going supersonic touching a 1.1 Mach speed.
The aircraft took off at 1110 hrs from HAL's Bangalore airport and landed forty minutes later, a DRDO release said.
The flight marks for the first time a Tejas aircraft flying in the configuration that will be finally delivered to the Indian Air Force.
This milestone is another step in the direction of releasing the Tejas for IAF service, which is planned for December 2010, it said.
In the sortie, test pilot Gp Capt Suneet Krishna flew the aircraft to an altitude of 11 kms and went supersonic, touching 1.1 Mach speed with Test Director, Gp Capt D Chakravorty, guiding him from the telemetry facility of National Flight Test Centre.
For all first flights of prototype aeroplanes, it is a standard operating procedure to have another aircraft chase the aircraft under test. In this case, the chase aircraft was flown by the Chief Test Pilot of NFTC, Gp Capt RR Tyagi with Wg Cdr Prabhu as the Test Director.
The Indian Navy has a considerable stake in the programme, as they look to replace their Sea Harrier fleet, which is due to be phased out in due course.
Senior scientists from ADA, NAL and ADE were involved in the development and flight test planning of the newly integrated flight control software which was used by the test aircraft. Programme Director of Aeronautical Development Agency, P S Subramanyam said the Tejas team was now heading to central India to carry out hot weather trials.
He expressed confidence that the aircraft would soon be flown by operational pilots of the defense services.