Tejas completes 500th sortie in 2013

New Delhi, Dec 28: India’s indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) completed 500 sorties in a year, achieving another milestone after attaining initial operational clearance last week.

According to a defence ministry release issued Saturday, 500 sorties by Tejas completed Friday, are the highest by the aircraft in a calendar year.

The highest number of sorties attained earlier in a calendar year was below 300.

Avinash Chander, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister A.K. Antony, congratulated the Tejas team and said the achievement was a result of synergy of various organisations, including the Aeronautical Development Agency, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and the Indian Air Force.

The release said 2013 has been exceptionally successful year for Tejas.

It said noteworthy accomplishments include in-flight relight (shutting off and then reigniting the single engine), high energy brake testing, flight envelope expansion, R73E missile firing with radar guidance, air-to-ground weapon tests, wet runway trials and demonstration of swing role capability.

Tejas, the lightest military jet in its class, got initial operational clearance Dec 20, paving the way for its induction into the IAF.

The final operational clearance of the fighter plane is slated for December 2014.

IANS