The first two-seat trainer prototype of the Indian Aeronautical Development Agency's Tejas light combat aircraft has made its debut flight from Hindustan Aeronautics' Bangalore airport facilities.
Performed on 26 November, the 30min first flight represents a major step towards the availability of an indigenous advanced supersonic trainer to accompany the Indian air force's future fleet of Tejas lightweight fighters.
"All the objectives set for the flight were achieved and all the systems on board the trainer prototype performed well all through the sortie," says the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation, which oversees the activities of the ADA.
© Aeronautical Development Agency
Piloted by Gp Capt Ritu Raj Tyagi from the National Flight Test Centre, the aircraft reached an altitude of 29,500ft (9,000m) and a maximum speed of M0.85 during its debut sortie.
The Tejas is scheduled to achieve its initial operational capability milestone with the Indian air force in late 2010. The nation's navy also intends to acquire a carrier-capable version of the type, with this to feature a high level of commonality with the new trainer model.
The ADA says development, prototype and pre-series production examples of the Tejas had flown a combined total of almost 1,230 test flights by 26 November.