Combat aircraft Tejas carries out successful test firing of ‘BVR’ missile; moves closer to “operational clearance”

New Delhi: An important test wherein the ‘BVR’ missile was fired from the Indian made Tejas fighter jet was successfully completed on Saturday. This test opens the path for Tejas to receive final operational clearance. The Indian Naval ‘Gagan Shakti’ war exercise was recently conducted on the Pakistani and Chinese borders. The Indian Air Force said that Tejas has proved its capabilities in these exercises. The Air Force had taken the decision to purchase 83 Tejas fighter jets a few days ago. In view of this decision, the success of the tests gains importance.

The Indian Air Force is in need of 42 fighter squadrons while currently it has only 32 of them. Many of the jets are approaching their end of life. It has become mandatory to increase the strength of the Air Force in view of the changing international scenario and the rising tensions with the neighbours. While there are ongoing efforts to acquire fighter jets from other countries, there is also a stress on the manufacture of the indigenous Tejas fighter jet, a light combat aircraft (LCA).

Permission to arm the Tejas with weapons and missiles is already in place. These important tests of the armed aircraft are being conducted accordingly. The aircraft can be given the final operational clearance (FOC) only after passing these tests. After Saturday’s test, this LCA is very close to obtaining the FOC, informed an officer.

The jets capable of launching the Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missiles are considered to be extremely lethal. Tejas has proved its capability by successfully launching these missiles. The test was conducted in Goa and the officials informed that the missiles launched from this aircraft hit the targets accurately.

The Indian Air Force has already placed an order for the supply of 40 Tejas jets with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). A ‘Request for Proposal’ (RFP) for the supply of an additional 83 of these jets has also been sent to HAL by the Air Force and the value of this transaction is 500 billion rupees. In view of this, the success of this aircraft in launching the BVR is important for the Air Force. The aircraft has been designed and developed by the ‘Defence Research and Development Organisation’ (DRDO). There were inordinate delays in actual implementation of the project and also in the manufacture of Tejas thereafter. Nevertheless, the completely  indigenous Tejas is now proudly exhibiting its capabilities.

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