In its first international joint exercise held recently, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has impressed the Russian Air Force contingent

The second edition of bilateral tri-services Exercise held between India and Russia concluded on December 19 and Tejas, which was part of the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet won praise from a Russian pilot.

Lt Col Nestervoe of the Russian Air Force who flew the Tejas prototype trainer aircraft PV-6 with Gp Capt N Deepak, chief test pilot of the National Flight Testing Centre said that the aircraft was compact with very good quality avionics.

During the sortie the capabilities of the aircraft in terms of manoeuvrability and the capabilities of the avionics was demonstrated along with laser-guided bomb and synthetic attack radar attacks on ground targets.

Earlier this year, the Tejas programme finally become combat-ready after more than three decades. In February, it was accorded the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) by the military aviation certifying agencies.

The IAF has placed orders for 40 Tejas aircraft (16 fighters each in IOC and FOC and 8 trainers), of which Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has rolled out 16. In addition, HAL has received Request for Proposal (RFP) to supply 83 Tejas to the air force.

Defence Acquisitions Council has also cleared acquisition of 83 LCA for IAF and that production is planned from 2019-2020.