New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday said that the home-made Light Combat Aircraft (LAC) Tejas have performed well in the recently concluded 14-day ‘Gaganshakti’ exercise and also have ability to intercept and engage hostile fighter jets.

“We have done trials and validation of operational efficiency of LCA Tejas. We were able to generate six sorties per platform per day. In this exercise, we had deployed eight platforms,” said an IAF official who was associated with this exercise.

The exercise was started on April 8 and concluded on April 21. On the first day, six of Tejas jets reported “snag” which were of different kind. “But we were able to get those rectified soon,” said the official.

Satisfied by its performance, the sources said, “We are happy with the Tejass. We are looking for fast production and also induction into the force.

The Tejas LCA is a supersonic, single-seat, single-engine multi-role light fighter jet that has been under development since 1983 by India’s Aeronautical Development Agency state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). 

As of December 2017, a total of 20 Tejas LCA have been handed over to the IAF including four trainer aircraft. 

  • 15 additional Tejas LCA are expected to be produced in 2018
  • The ninth IAF Tejas LCA completed its maiden flight in March
  • On 1 July 2016, the LCA Tejas was inducted into the Squadron No 45 of the IAF and has been designed to replace the MiG-21 aircraft
  • The IAF conducted a massive show of strength for the first time in last three decades with focus on key areas like aerial combat, air to surface combat, paratrooper assault and medical evacuation
  • It was more a real war like situation where the IAF can get ready and reach from Western sector to Northern sector within 48 hours

On being asked about two-front war like situation, the sources said, “We have tried to maximize what we have. We have to fight with what we have.”

In this exercise, 1,400 officers and 14,000 men participated. A total of 11,000 sorties were flown out of which 9,000 were conducted by fighter jets in the pan-India peacetime air operations.