India's homegrown Tejas light combat aircraft is unlikely to be qualified by December 2010 as currently planned, with the date for its initial operational capability likely to be postponed.

The Aeronautical Development Agency now expects to conduct the first flight of limited series production aircraft LSP-3 no sooner than September. It has yet to integrate the platform's air data and digital flight control computers, or receive final software for its Israeli-sourced multi-mode radar.

 © Tejas
TheTejas light combat aircraft is unlikely to meet the 2010 plan 

Engine issues also continue to dog the Tejas effort. The Indian air force has ordered an initial batch of 20 General Electric F404-IN20-powered examples, but needs an improved aircraft with a power output of at least 20,225lb thrust (90kN) to meet its operational requirements.

Hindustan Aeronautics plans to produce a more powerful Mk II version of the Tejas, but the air force has recently rejected a proposal under which France's Snecma would have assisted India's Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) in completing development of the troubled indigenous Kaveri powerplant. The GTRE and Snecma are challenging the decision.

Source: Flight International