Live video feeds from the helmet sights of three Tejas fighters enthralled an audience of officials and journalists today at Bangalore's HAL Airport ahead of the 'IOC-2' ceremony that cleared the LCA Tejas for entry into Indian Air Force service. Nice touch. And unlike the IOC-1 event two years ago, the IAF wasn't in a bad mood. On the contrary, there appeared to be genuine satisfaction. Rare stuff.
The Indian Air Force will begin receiving series production (SP) airframes from HAL over the next few months to service an order of 40 jets. The Tejas Mk.1 type now looks to achieve final operational clearance (FOC) -- a milestone that signals the platform is fully ready for all intended operational profiles and performance qualities -- by December 2014. Twelve short months to get a LOT of work done. But there's splendid momentum, high morale, a smiling IAF and a supposedly no-more-nonsense MoD to drive the team over the finish line in time. Well, here's the 12 month to-do list:
1. Expand flight envelope to -3.5 to 8G (Currently -2 to 6G).
2. 24° angle of attack (Currently 22°).3. In-flight refuelling capability (Integration of Cobham probe complete).
4. Demonstration of Rafael ADS Derby BVR air-to-air missile.
5. Demonstration of Rafael ADS Python-5 IIR close combat missile (Related post here).
6. Completion of integration & demonstration of KBP Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23 23mm cannon.
7. New design drop tanks for supersonic flight.
8. New radome to improve radar and electromagnetic performance.
9. Validate more efficient cooling system for aircraft braking assembly.
10. Additional weapons testing, including PGMs.
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