Tejas, is what defines ‘Make in India.’
Tejas, after a 33 year long wait has been finally inducted into the Indian Air Force (I.A.F.), a single engine, multi role fighter has been tagged as the world’s most smallest and lightest supersonic aircraft, and it has been developed by us, India.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (H.A.L.) handed over the first of the air crafts, the Tejas will be inducted into the I.A.F. as the ‘Flying Daggers’ squadron, which will conclusively consist of 20 air crafts and aims to replace the existing ageing fleet of Mig-21 fighter planes, which has been the cause of death for many brave pilots of our country due to its frequent malfunctions and crashes. In a recent statement, the defense minister of the central government, Manohar Parrikar has said that Tejas meets the requirement of critical lightweight air craft and that it will be available for export to allied nations in the near future.
Tejas, is very small and light, therefore in terms of stealth is very difficult to be detected by radar. The aircraft is made out of light, but one of the strongest materials and is highly maneuverable and agile in the air. It is being developed in two variants, for both the air force and the navy.
India started developing the Light Combat Aircraft (L.C.A.) Tejas back in 1984 when the government set up Aeronautics Development Agency (A.D.A.) for this very purpose. In the year 2001, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the then prime minister of India, under whose tenure the air craft took its first flight, named it Tejas, taken from sanskrit which means radiance and it truly is a radiant milestone in the history of India’s goal for indigenous development of defense equipment.
Though, many people are under the impression that the Tejas is the first indigenous developed aircraft that has been inducted into the air force, in reality, it would be the HF-24 Marut. But due to issues related to its engines, it was phased out and the air force was again without an air craft produced from the land it defended. Ironically, the Marut is on display in Germany but remains a forgotten warrior in India.
The Induction of Tejas is also a personal achievement for the defense minister Manohar Parrikar who wants the I.A.F. to fly indigenous developed air crafts.
The fact about the Tejas being an advanced aircraft is not just on paper, a number of pilots who have flown this air craft in its various stages of development have commented that Tejas is at par with many of the fourth generation air craft of the contemporaneous world.
Tejas is indeed a step toward the development of more, not only just air crafts for the air force, equipment for the army as well as the navy and change India’s name in the international market as ‘one of the largest defense importer’ to ‘one of the largest defense exporter.’
An achievement like this, shouldn’t be politicized by the different political parties of the country and it should be celebrated as a national achievement, not of any particular political party. All parties shouldn’t run after grabbing credit, but in fact support each other for more feats like this one, only then will our country really progress towards the country all of us have envisioned.