New Delhi: The final version of the two-seater trainer jet Tejas (PV-6) made its maiden flight on Saturday, in a milestone for India's overall indigenous Light Combat Aircraft programme.
The aircraft took to the skies at 13.36 PM and was piloted by Group Captain Vivart Singh along with Group Captain Anoop Kabadwal.
The aim of the flight was to check the twin cockpit functionality which is similar to series production two-seater aircraft, a Defence Ministry statement said.
"All systems functioned as expected during the 36 minute flight. PV6 is the second two-seater and has the capability to deliver all air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons as required by the Indian Air Force for the Final Operational Clearance," the statement said.
This is the 16th Tejas variant to have flown as part of the project that has been in the pipeline for over two decades. The PV6 has absorbed all the major design modifications undertaken during the last 2,500-plus flights in the programme.
This is the final prototype and will lead to final production of the trainer aircraft.
The aircraft has a new communication system, radar, EW sensors and new navigation systems for automatic landing. Dr Avinash Chander, DRDO chief congratulated the Tejas team on achieving the success and said ‘having achieved success in indigenous design and development of Tejas in both its combat and trainer versions, its production and induction will add a new strength to make-in-India campaign'.
Today's flight is the culmination of efforts of ADA, HAL, CEMILAC, DG AQA, Indian Air Force and other DRDO & CSIR organisations.
The Light Combat Aircraft Tejas Programme is the biggest project that on which Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working.
The project, since its inception in 1983, has faced many challenges, largely because of sanctions following nuclear test in 1998 by India and the fact that this is India's first attempt to make a combat aircraft.
IAF has ordered 40 LCA Mk-1 aircraft and is likely to induct five more squadrons of an advanced version of the aircraft being developed by DRDO and HAL.
The aircraft had received initial operational clearance last year and has to get the FOC in next few months before it starts operational flying.