Bengaluru: A new variant of India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas completed its first flight successfully here on Monday. Piloted by Air Commodore K A Muthanna (Retd), Chief of Test Flying (CTF), Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the Tejas SP-21 (series production) fighter took off from HAL Airport here at 12:54 pm and landed back at 01:34 pm after 40 minutes of successful maiden flight. This is the first Final Operational Clearance (FOC) variant of Tejas fighter produced by LCA Division, the youngest wing of HAL. In the next two years, HAL will have to roll out 16 FOC Tejas fighters (including SP-21) and eight trainers for the Indian Air Force (IAF). One of the key features of the new Tejas variant is the air-to-air refuelling probe giving it an edge during enduring missions. The new variants will be able to fly non-stop for over eight hours with air-to-air refuelling support, thereby giving a fillip to IAF operations. During Tuesday’s flight, the airframe profile was tested in which the engine and aircraft performance was proven. As a mandatory practice, the pilot is said to have also flown an inverted sortie that lasted for 10 seconds. During today’s flight the pilot pulled… Read full this story
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