Monday, January 19, 2015

Retrospective: When The LCA Was Named Tejas

  • Cougar

  • Lions

  • Snowalker

  • Howling

  • Sunbathing

  • Howling

  • Howling

  • Howling

  • Howling

  • Howling

These photos from May 2003 when then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee officially christened India's Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas', an odd choice of name for a fighter jet, given that it means radiance or brightness. Other names that made it to a shortlist at the time included Jatayu and Garuda, both powerful birds from Indian mythology. Prime Minister Vajpayee is said to have insisted on Tejas. And that was that.

With the first Tejas now in IAF hands, and with more to follow this year to form the first squadron (first in Bengaluru and then moved to Sulur, Tamil Nadu) it'll be interesting to see if the government gives the Tejas a Hindustan Fighter 'HF' designation, or let it remain just 'Tejas'. The idea came up in 2009, but was brushed aside at the time, perhaps rightly, as the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and IAF were battlint it out over what was acceptable for initial operational clearance of the platform. The last fighter that India built indigenously was the HF-24 Marut. Platforms under current development in country include the HJT-36 and HTT-40 trainers. I'm not making this up: when the only discussions on an 'HF' designation came up five years ago, the DRDO felt 'H' implied HAL, and therefore wasn't appropriate. Either way, like I said, it should be interesting to see if the aircraft gets a fighter designation..


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,
<< Platforms under current development in country include the HJT-16 and HTT-40 trainers. >>
HJT-16 Kiran Intermediate Jet Trainer was already existing and has been phased out.
You probably meant it to be HJT 32, Sitara IJT aircraft which is 'under development'.

Richard said...

Indian language and mythology aside, Tejas sounds better from a marketing point and might be better than Jatayu and Garuda when the time (hopefully) comes to export it and sell it in the global market.

Mahendra Singh said...

It's HJT 36, not HJT 32.