India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has achieved a major milestone when its prototype landed at Leh air base in the high-altitude Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Tejas (LCA) programme reached a major milestone when the prototype vehicle PV-3 landed at Leh on December 13 this year at 1326 hours,” Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials said here today.
The event is seen as significant on many counts as Leh airfield is situated at an altitude of 10,600 feet and is one of the highest airfields in the world with a temperature variation ranging from plus 5 degrees Celsius to minus 20 degrees Celsius.
The objective of the current phase of flight trials at Leh was to expose the on-board systems to the extreme low temperatures while making an assessment of the aircraft performance in the rarefied atmospheric conditions, DRDO officials said.
Two Tejas prototypes PV-3 and LSP-2 were involved in this important environmental test. The LSP-2 prototype powered by the latest IN20 engine with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) is in the Standard of Preparation (SOP) that would be cleared for induction into the IAF service soon.
As per reports received from the trial location, the current phase of flight trial was progressing well with aircraft and systems performing well, as expected. The aircraft were soaked overnight in cold weather, with temperature around minus 20 degrees Celsius and powered up next day for operation, officials said.