India on Wednesday showcased its home-grown fighter Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) TEJAS at the 13th edition of the biennial Aero India 2021, with a spectacular display of its strike capabilities and daring manoeuvres at the Yelahanka airbase on the city’s outskirts.

Flown by Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter pilot Manish Tolani, the indigenous Tejas demonstrated its prowess and agility through breath-taking aerobatics, including thunderous rapid rolls, vertical Charlie, upside down and angular flying display on the first day of the 3-day air show under Covid cloud.

Designed and developed by the city-based state-run Aircraft Development Agency (ADA) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and built by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), TEJAS is the world’s only light combat aircraft.

The IAF has already inducted the TEJAS MK-1 in its fighter fleet squadron at its Sulur airbase in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore.

The Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on January 13 approved the purchase of 83 TEJAS MK-1A variants, including 10 trainers for the IAF at Rs 48,000 crore from the defence behemoth HAL.

This is in addition to the 40 TEJAS MK-1, the IAF has placed an order in 2016 with HAL to deliver for setting up two squadrons of the fighters.

The city-based company has delivered 20 TEJAS and in the process of delivering the remaining 20.

Other military aircraft that flew at the inaugural event of the air show in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and other dignitaries include Rafale fighters of the French aerospace major Dassault, Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Jaguar, advanced jet trainer Hawk and HAL-made helicopters such as ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter), Light Combat Helicopter and Light Utility Helicopter.

The highlight of the 2-hour long opening show was the dazzling aerobatics by the IAF’s 9 Surya Kiran Hawks and 4 Sarang ALHs Dhruv.

The US B1-Bomber also flew along with TEJAS at the opening event.

The maiden joint aerobatics by Surya Kirans and Sarang choppers was the highlight of the show at different altitudes.

Both the aerobatic teams flew in a heart formation with their trail smoke on a bright sunny day.

Dornier 228, Hindustan Turbo Trainer (HTT)-40 and LUH and ALH MK-III of the HAL were at the static display.