Tejas SP-4 at striking distance from first flight
Bengaluru: The fourth Series Production aircraft from Tejas flight line SP-4 has moved to the final stages of systems checking at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s LCA Division here.
During a visit to the Tejas final assembly facilities recently, V Sridharan, ED of the facility told Mathrubhumi.com that the first flight is sure to take place in February.
“All efforts are to see that the aircraft (SP-4) is ready for the upcoming Aero India 2017,” Sridharan said.
Next in line platforms SP-5 and SP-6 are also in different stages of assembly and undergoing equipping at the facility.
Major parts outsourced now
With most of the major assembly structures now being outsourced, the production has picked up momentum. Different modules for platforms till SP-11 have hit the production floor now.
Among the main parts outsourced are: wing to L&T (Coimbatore), central fuselage VEM Technologies (Hyderabad) and rear fuselage Alpha Tocol (Bengaluru). The precision mechanical assemblies are being done by Alpa Tocol and BrahMos Aerospace (Thiruvananthapuram).
“Currently the level of outsourcing is around 39 per cent. When all the new initiatives taken recently to step up the production rate come to play, then the level of outsourcing will increase to 61 per cent as far as standard man hours are concerned,” says Sridharan.
As per the plans for 2016-17, SP-4, SP-5 and SP-6 should be handed over to Indian Air Force by coming March.
HAL Chairman says plans on track
Similar to the massive support extended by the LCA Tejas Division for last year’s Bahrain air show, a large number of engineers and ground crew played a key role during the just-concluded Republic Day Parade.
A total of five platforms were detailed for the R-Day Parade. While SP-1, SP-2 and SP-3 flew for the first time over Rajpath, another two (LSP-3 and PV6) were on stand-by. One was on hot stand-by and was airborne during the Tejas’ ‘Delta’ formation fly-past.
HAL says the extensive and timely logistic support extended to the No 45 Squadron during the R-Day was appreciated by the IAF.
HAL Chairman T Suvarna Raju expressed confidence over the Tejas production steadily picking up speed in the months ahead.
“We are at it and every effort is made to ensure that IAF gets the aircraft as per the schedule. The feedback from IAF is encouraging,” says Raju.
During the upcoming Aero India 2017, in addition to the No 45 Squadron, Tejas variants from HAL and Aeronautical Development Agency too will be on flying\static display.
(The writer is the Content Consultant with Mathrubhumi (English Online) and tweets @writetake.)