Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft has successfully fired a missile that hit its target. The demonstration was conducted off the coast of Goa in the Arabian Sea today morning.

This is yet another milestone for Tejas, the first indigenously designed and developed fighter aircraft. It launched an infrared seeking air to air missile that hit the target in a direct hit with precision and destroyed it, a spokesperson for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said.

The test demonstration takes the aircraft closer to its induction in the Indian Air Force. The aircraft has been developed with the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Bangalore, as the lead laboratory and HAL as the production partner.

Avinash Chander, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and Secretary, Dept of Defence R&D said "with this launch of missile from Tejas and successfully hitting the target in the first shot, we have demonstrated the total weapon system capability of LCA Tejas".

Tejas has been undergoing weapon release flight tests, for its operational clearance. As a prelude today, Gp Capt Suneet Krishna, flying the Tejas aircraft commanded Infrared seeker missile through the fire control radar of the aircraft to lock on to the target.

The target was towed by a pilotless target aircraft ‘Lakshya’ also designed and developed by DRDO’s another premier lab, ‘Aeronautics Development Establishment’ (ADE), Bangalore. The target mounted on Lakshya was launched by a ship of the Indian Navy off the west coast of India.

The LCA project is one of the most ambitious development project of the DRDO, which has seen many challenges in its journey of over two decades so far, attracting criticism of delays, cost over runs.

Somasekhar.m@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 7, 2013)
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