The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fitted with missiles, bombs and sensors will make its debut at this years Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi on January 26.
While models of the Tejas has been showcased in the past Republic Day parades, a real aircraft will be showcased for the first time.
The Technology Demonstrator (TD-1), the first ever Tejas to fly way back in January 2001 has been chosen as the display aircraft in the parade at which India’s military might and cultural diversity is showcased.
The TD-1 has already been transported from Bangalore to New Delhi, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Officials told dna.
“In the past we have showcased various models of the aircraft in the Republic Day Parade. But now that the LCA programme has attained Initial Operational Clearance (IOC), we have decided show a real Tejas,” said DRDO spokesperson Ravi Kumar Gupta.
The TD-1 will be fitted air to air missiles like the R-73 and the indigenous Astra missile along with 100lb bombs, laser guided bombs, laser designation pod and sensors.
Gupta said that the aircraft will also be displayed at the India Gate and after the Republic Day parade would be brought Bangalore and handed over to the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) the nodal agency for the design and development of the LCA programme.
“As the TD-1 is one of the older variants of the Tejas not much flying is done. The flying or testing is now carried out by the production variants,” Gupta added.
Various variants of the Tejas including the TD, Prototype Vehicles, Limited Series Production and Naval Prototype have flow over 2400 sorties since 2001.
The aircraft is expected to attain Final Operational Clearance (FOC) by the end of this year and later on will be inducted into the Indian Air Force.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day parade.