Tejas LSP-3 makes a successful first flight: DRDO says Initial Operational Clearance on track for Dec 2010 - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Friday 23 April 2010

Tejas LSP-3 makes a successful first flight: DRDO says Initial Operational Clearance on track for Dec 2010

A press release from the DRDO is attached below:


Limited Series Production (LSP) # 3 aircraft is the ninth test vehicle to join the flight line to undertake development flight trials of the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas towards operational clearance for induction in the IAF by the end of the year. Successful, copy book maiden test flight of LSP-3 is significant on many counts.

The LSP-3 is a quantum jump in terms of the equipment fit on the aircraft. It is almost the final configuration including the new air-data computers, Multi Mode Radar, new communication and navigation equipment and radar warning receiver. With this successful flight, the LCA (Tejas) programme is very close to the Initial Operations Clearance, which is to be completed by December 2010. The remaining effort is mostly the flight testing and demonstration of sensors and weapon performance.

The test aircraft was flown by Wg Cdr G Thomas, VM of the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) at ADA. As per procedure the first flight was accompanied by a chase aircraft which was a Tejas Trainer flown by Gp Capt RR Tyagi, the Chief Test Pilot and Wg Cdr (Retd) PK Raveendran SC, the Group Director (Flight Test). The test flight was conducted from the Telemetry station by the Test Director, Wg Cdr S Toffeen, under the supervision of Air Cmde Rohit Varma VM, the Project Director (Flight Test). The flight took off from HAL airport in Bangalore and all the objectives of the flight were met within the duration of 52 minutes.

With this flight the total number of test flights accumulated across nine test vehicles of the Tejas programme has reached one thousand three hundred and fifty and has logged about 800 hrs of flight.

On the successful flight of the LSP-3 Director – ADA, Mr PS Subramanyam has said that this is the “culmination of the efforts of the Tejas Team comprising of members from HAL, IAF, CEMILAC, DG-AQA, DRDO labs, PSUs, coordinated by ADA”.


  1. Hal is taking too much time in making these lsp's operational but lsp3 firm step towards IOC

  2. this has been a very long and painful ride into a immensly lucrative market of 4th generation fighter, whcih are cheaper to manufacture than westerm counterparts. India should look beyond the use of tejas as just a replacement for Mig 21's, rather think of the lucrative market of export for this machine. There exists a substantial demand for Cheaper 4th generation fighters by various air Forces around the world, whose requirements are going to take them to China for their J-10, or Pakistan/China for JF-17. Concentrated efforts should be put together in an marketing campaign to advertise, present and fly the aircraft around air shows to give it an image and presence in the international media. The foreign sales will go a long way to provide crucial monetary assets to bring the unit cost down, make changes to the Mk2 version, and use these export dollars to keep improving the current platform.

  3. Hi Ajay,

    Thanks for the article and Nice to know that LCA LSP 3 has finally flown. Can you please let us know
    about the modifications like
    1. Weight reduction (supposed to have reduced flab by 1000 KG)
    2. MMR - Is this a Aesa radar as reported by some sources.
    3. Cockpit modifications.

    I can see the auxilary air channel as mentioned by you earlier.

  4. Will You be visiting HAL/ADA anytime soon?

  5. Excellent news!
    I hope that IAF does not put another spanner in the program and we get into fast track to replace the Mig 21.

    Kudos to the entire team who developed Tejas through all the rough and tumble.

  6. Sudip Das (sddp1968@yahoo.co.in)23 April 2010 at 09:06

    Makes one feel proud .

    A few observations :

    - With Elta MMR from IAI Israel , will DRDO abort its effort to develop an indigineous MMR

    -Russia also offered Radar TECHNOLOGY , if accepted there would have been commonality with either MIG series or with SU30MKI RADARS

    - DRDO should try to explore other application of LCA Tejas . Recently not happy with BAE Hawk AJT , IAF had sent enquiry for AJT TO different manufacturers. All the AJT'S have a specification similar (more than 90%)to Tejas . Why not a future Indian AJT on the Tejas platform .

    - Gripen participating in MMRCA tender has a specification similar(more than 98%)to Tejas . Instead of procuring Gripen at a higher price per unit , will it not be prudent to wait a bit and induct Tejas at a much lower per unit cost. Why kill a desi product prematurely

  7. Ajai,

    Some reports say the MMR radar is Israeli. Is it Indian MMR or Israeli?

  8. So which radar is it ?

    b) ELTA 2032
    c) Elta 2052
    d) Mix 'n match of the above
    e) None of these

  9. Congrats to all involved. Hope that the engine for MK2 is finalised soon and if necessary de-linked from mmrca deal so as to not cause unnecessary delays to MK2. No way should IAF be allowed to delay MK2.

    Also please look into a UCAV version of LCA too.

  10. I personally believe that the Tejas is outdated and a liability. It is not a 4++ generation aircraft, and apart from the MMR radar, GE engine I do not think the rest of the avionics are state-of-the-art. There are jets today that can engage 8 enemy fighter jets at the same time in various arrangements. The argument that we must replace Mig-21/27 with Tejas does not work. The panacea that the MK-2 version will somehow resolve all defects is an Indian mind set - nothing more. The GE engine is a strategic anomaly. I would like the readers of this blog to seriously consider... replacing all our aged aircrafts with MIG-35 through manufacture via TOT. I am not saying we should disband the LCA team. The LCA must be produced as quantitative additions to the IAF ... but the core IAF squadrons numbering around 42 should be MIG-35, SU30MKI, PAKFA. The remaining 10-12squadrons for an optimal IAF fleet can be powered by the LCA, MCA. The argument against what I suggest is - that manufacturing MIG-35 in such numbers will be expensive. I feel the costs will come down incrementally...and we get a better product. The idea that Tejas should be exported is eminent if Israel and other OEMs permit it.

  11. Great news! Now to move fwd on the final IOC and step on MK2 to have a fighter that will live up to its expectations. 2010 will be a eventful year for Indian Aviation.

  12. @ all

    its ELTA 2032, when the MMRCA deal will be finalized the radar that will fit there will be put into Tejas. That will be AESA.

    Ajai sir just a few questions.

    Q1. when we will see LSP-4

    Q2. Is there are PV-4/5

    Q3. Can these LSPs/Pvs be put into active service and war


  14. Sudip Das (sddp1968@yahoo.co.in)24 April 2010 at 05:17

    Rebuttal of Comment by anonymous on 24 April 2010 09:04

    There will be enough hawks who will try everything to destroy and stop the development of indigineous arms and weapons industry . Compare the the development of GRIPEN in Sweden and JF-1O in China . They have reposed faith in their homegrown defense industry .

    But in India there are cartels to kill the indigineous defense industries. That is why these people do not have the courage to reveal their identity but paste comments on different blogs under the guise of being "anonymous"

    Tejas is a technologically matured platform and Indian defense forces should support it in every possible way .

    It seems the Arjun saga will be repeated.

    There should be legislation to penalize these hawks from issuing such unpatiotic and irresponsible statements. They look like agents of the participants of MMRCA TENDER.

    Jai Hind

  15. I may not go so far, as Sudip has, as to paint Tejas sceptics as anti-national... or even paid agents of foreign arms companies. But I will make one point.

    It is incredibly shortsighted to evaluate an indigenous weapon programme SIMPLY in terms of the effectiveness of the product at the time of delivery. When a product reaches a certain acceptable level (and that is a fine judgement) it has to be supported. And this is not just to buttress local design and manufacturing capability.

    The greatest advantage of an indigenous platform is that you can absolutely rely on it being steadily upgraded during its service life-cycle; and also that it will be customised to the requirements of ones own military. No foreign platform will come with such assurances.

    Cheaper costs, trickle down benefits, employment generation, strategic self-reliance, the capability to conduct weapons exports as a part of diplomacy, etc... these are all just secondary benefits.

  16. Does IOC include BVR capability? Else what is the purpose of integrating MMR w.r.t IOC?

  17. ajai, any info on Mk2 engine selection and radar of LSP-3 ?

  18. good going !
    its far better that having
    mig 21/23/27 in the inventory

  19. We hate them for their inefficiencies...(D.R.D.O)...but they have created an aircraft that has an immaculate safety record(Touch wood)...
    Even the GRIPEN crashed during testing ,J10s have had the same problems.We don't give that kind of leeway to our programs.So the developers are always on the safer side not pushing the envelope and speeding things up...
    You can call LCA anything you want...but It is a 4++ generation fighter as of LSP3.
    Mark 2 may not be the panacea that we are looking for but it will be a better version than mark 1.
    Mid life upgrades will coincide with the Critical technology developed for MMRCA that can be incorporated...
    By 2025 we will have a complete indigenous Fighter formation protecting our skies...(sans PAK FA and SUKS and MMRCA)...(Hopefully Kavery and AESA works out)...
    Mig-35 is a superb aircraft but TOT with Russians will take another 10 years by which time, Mig 35 will be a suboptimal aircraft especially because of its air frames...

  20. Is it a AESA?????????
    we r braking our heads in brf

  21. It must be commendable that both Tejas Fighter and Arjun MBT have at last arrived to zone of the shining light...

  22. Dear all,

    Don't kill yourselves speculating about an AESA radar. The radar flown on the LSP-3 is an Israeli Elta 2032 MMR.

    Too bad, but there it is!


  23. ajai sir

    unconfirmed reports say the radar carried by LSP-3 is the hybrid version of ELTA 2032 radar.

    I dont know of other spec, but as of hybrid is confirmed.

  24. Sudip Das (sddp1968@yahoo.co.in)26 April 2010 at 01:56

    EL/M 2032 is a pulse doppler radar

    For details , kindly go to the following link


  25. Very Very impressed by this fighter, it is beautiful. The build quality and the colour scheme look amazing. IAF need to order these babbies in numbers and soon.


    There have been few reports that WS-13 for the Thunder has TV and that its ready...any truth in this? If this is the case, will it have impact on IAF's decisions? If so what do you think they will be?

  26. any more information about LSP-4??

    any fixed date when it will touch the skies??

  27. To kill or not to kill the Tejas!!!

    It took 25+ years for India to arrive at a position where we have a 4th generation fighter (albeit not the most lethal 4th gen fighter) with an almost working radar+leaky turbofan engine(MMR & Kaveri),decent build quality (huge % of composites) and expertise gained in a wide spectrum of aircraft building activities (landing gear, displays, gyros, canopies etc). Should we throw these out the door coz it does not compare well with, say the Gripen?

    No, Rome was not built in a day and neither is a 5th gen Fighter. HAL has not shone through but we have built a decent fighter which needs a lot of work. So, get to work. Integrate the MMR, upgrade the engine (GE 414/EJ 200) and get the Tejas to be fighting fit, if not the best 4th gen fighter. That is the first priority.

    But here is what really excites me. As we have gone through the pain for developing Tejas, we can use the technologies we have developed into the MCA for it to be a really cutting edge aircraft. We have the composites, we can build on the MMR to come up with a world class radar and make the MCA a true 5th gen fighter.

    So, the million dollar question.Can this be done? Yes and No. If you take the Dhruv (still powered by the "Shakti" which is not 100% Indian) and the success it has achieved with 100+ in operation and 450 on order, you realize what can be achieved. The Dhruv laid the foundation for the LCH. True, the LCH is not inducted yet, but it is a potent attack helicopter and should be operational by 2012. If you see the end picture, by 2015, India would have built 250 Dhruv's and 65 ALH's. If we had given up in say 2004 (18 years into the project since 1984 without operationalization) and started importing helos, in 2015 & in 2025-you would still be importing helos.

    So, keep the faith, understand that we started late to develop such weapons and work hard to achieve indigenous competence. There will be setbacks-but they would only make you work harder.



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