Fighter aircraft Tejas clocks fastest speed during testing

In the final phase of its tests before formal commissioning, India's indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas went past its ultimate speed of 1,350 KMPH over the Goa skies and clocked the fastest speed ever, a top IAF officer said on Tuesday.

"The aircraft went past its ultimate speed of 1350 kmph on December 7 over the skies in Goa after take off from the naval air station INS Hansa," Commander Rohit Varma, project director (flight test), National flight test centre, told reporters here.

"This is the fastest speed ever achieved by an Indian- made fighter aircraft," he said.

The aircraft also passed flight flutter test diving from an altitude of four kilometers to almost sea level at 900 feet.

"Tejas has already passed high-altitude tests in Leh, the desert rigours in Rajasthan and now it has proved its worth over the maritime space in Goa," Varma said.

The IAF has already ordered 20 LCAs from HAL at a contract worth Rs 2701.70 crore. The fighters are to be delivered by 2013.

The LCA, a project of aeronautical development agency (ADA) is the first supersonic fighter craft manufactured indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

The aircraft will have naval and Indian air force version, of which the latter is undergoing testing at Goa naval base.

"It can fly from a base and also from an aircraft carrier," P S Subramanyam, Programme Director (Combat aircraft) and director, ADA, said.

The officials confirmed that the naval version of the aircraft would be attached to aircraft carrier Gorshkov once the aircraft is inducted for operations.

Subramanyam said the LCA-naval will have capability to take off from ski jump platform of aircraft carriers. "The development of the naval version is progressing very fast.

There are few glitches but we will overcome them." The IAF is likely to base the lightweight multi-role jet fighters at Sulur in Coimbatore. "They are earmarked for squadron no 45, which will be the first LCA squadron," Varma said.

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