The first squadron of the indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas -- christened ‘Flying Daggers 45’ -- was inducted into the Indian Air Force on Friday.
Here are some facts about the design and development of the Light Combat Aircraft through the years.
In 1983, the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization) got permission to initiate a programme to design and develop a Light Combat Aircraft.
And the very next year Government of India set up Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) as the nodal agency developing the LCA and managing the programme.
From 1985 - 2000 design and development of the LCA continued.
On 4th January 2001 Wing commander Rajiv Kothiyal successfully flew the first flight of the Technology Demonstrator TD-1. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee named LCA – “Tejas” meaning Radiance in ancient Indian language Sanskrit.
From 2001 - 2009 Tejas improved itself gradually in its speed and target accuracy. It went through a lot of changes and updates both in technology and weapon systems.
On January 10, 2011, it was certified and cleared for combat service.
On January 17, 2015, IAF gets first indigenously-built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas - The LCA Tejas Series Production-1 (SP1) was handed over by defence minister Manohar Parrikar to Indian Air Force chief air marshal Arup Raha in Bengaluru.
On January 21-23, 2016, Tejas participates for the first time in an International Air Show in Bahrain.
On Friday the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) handed over the two LCAs to the Indian Air Force.
IAF officers had earlier said that the first LCA squadron will be based in Bengaluru in Karnataka for two years before shifting to Sulur in Tamil Nadu.
Starting with two aircraft, the squadron will get six more jets by 2017 to make it fully operational.
The LCA is far superior to Pakistan’s JF-17 built jointly with China, the IAF had mentioned.
The indigenous fighter jet, which is still to get full operational clearance, is expected to get into combat role next year, officials had said.
IAF’s squadron number 45, ‘Flying Daggers’, has to its credit the shooting down of a Pakistani naval surveillance aircraft in 1999, some 300 km northeast of Karachi, killing all 16 people on board.
The squadron, which was based at Nalia air base in Gujarat, was flying the MIG-21 Bis at that time.
The first Tejas squadron will consist of 20 aircraft, with four in reserve.
Source : http://tejas.gov.in/