The Tejas, an Indian-designed fighter jet – and one that has been called the smallest lightweight, single-engine, tactical fighter aircraft in the world by Indian defence officials – has joined the country’s air force.
The aircraft was built 31 years ago by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), and it is now expected to replace the fleet of Russian MIG-21s, which is already ageing. The company just released two of the aircraft to the air force on Friday, reads an article on BBC News.
This aircraft is not the first Indian-made fighter jet. HAL also built the HF-24 Marut in 1961.
Although the Tejas – which means radiant – was designed and manufactured in India, some things such as its engine and radar have been imported.
The two aircraft have been declared fit to fly in 2011 and they will be part of a squadron called ‘Flying Daggers’ 45. Future plans involve the release of a total of six Tejas this year and eight in the next.
The Tejas can carry air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, and its release has been delayed because of technological difficulties and because the U.S. imposed certain sanctions after India carried out nuclear tests in 1998.