LCA Tejas to be equipped with Israeli weapons and missiles: Report
18 July 2018
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is in the process of equipping a squadron of the indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas with Israeli missiles as the Indian Air Force (IAF) looks to put more teeth into its fighter jets, including the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, says a report in the Israeli website IHLS.
Simultaneously, the Indian Air Force is testing the use of Israeli Rafael Spice smart bombs, which can use the GPS/INS Satellite/Inertial Navigation system, to home in on targets, according to IHLS, an Israeli website specialising in news in the security and technology sphere.
The IAF will test the advanced Israeli-developed air-to-air missiles and precise air-to-ground weapon systems on Tejas to find out their integration potential, IHLS claims that IAF will test.
Tejas, IAF's first indigenous supersonic jet, had on 27 April test-fired the 118-kg Israeli Rafael I-Derby air-to-air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile from the firing range off the Goa coast for the second time after an exhaustive study of the missile separation characteristics and plume envelope. The Derby missile was first test-fired by Tejas in RADAR guided mode on 12 May 2017, at the Interim Test Range (ITR), Chandipur-on-Sea in Odisha. The missile launch was performed in Lock ON after Launch mode for a BVR target in the look down mode and the target was destroyed.
Tejas, the four-plus generation combat aircraft, is on its way to achieving the final operational clearance (FOC) by successfully firing the Derby missile for the second time. The IAF will induct 324 Tejas fighters to make up for the depleting number of squadron strength.
However, the IAF had made it clear to the DRDO that the next variant of the LCA - Tejas Mark II jets - should be entirely “new fighters” with “better avionics, radars, enhanced weapons carrying capacity and powerful engines”. The IAF had in July 2017 inducted the first squadron of Tejas with two planes joining the force.