Indian Air Force takes delivery of first two-seat HAL Tejas fighter

New variant of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) has advanced training as its main task, but can still be used in defense and attack missions

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has delivered the first two-seat LCA Tejas fighter, also known as the “Trainer”, to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The ceremony, held in Bengaluru on Wednesday, comes almost six months after the maiden flight of the first twin-seater fighter jet.

The new Tejas variant will be mainly used in advanced pilot training, however, the fighter retains a combat capability, says HAL.

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The two-seater Tejas designated LT5201 is one of eight already ordered by the IAF.

HAL LCA Tejas Trainer

During the event, the Indian government confirmed plans to order an additional 97 Tejas fighters, which will bring the Air Force to 220 aircraft in the future.

Currently, the IAF operates 32 single-seat Tejas, according to Flight Global.

Just like the single-seat fighter, the Trainer is equipped with the GE F404 turbofan with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system, Martin-Baker Mk16 ejection seats, fly-by-wire and modern radar.

LCA Tejas Trainer (HAL)

According to HAL, the LCA Trainer can reach Mach 1.8, has a maximum takeoff weight of 13,500 kg and a range of 1,200 km.

The new aircraft is expected to take on the role of advanced instruction, currently performed by the British BAe Hawk subsonic jet.


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