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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA], Tejas [Wallpaper-sized pictures] [Updated]


These pictures of the Light Combat Aircraft [LCA], Tejas were circulating in a mailing list. Don't recollect having seen a few of these earlier - did not have these in my collection. Some others that did appear had been watermarked by people who had not shot the pictures.

Click the thumbnails to view a larger-sized picture

India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas Wallpaper -sized picture
Свет борьбе Индии самолетов [LCA] Tejas India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas
India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas Wallpaper -sized picture Свет борьбе Индии самолетов [LCA] Tejas
India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas Wallpaper -sized picture
Свет борьбе Индии самолетов [LCA] Tejas India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas
India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas Wallpaper -sized picture Свет борьбе Индии самолетов [LCA] Tejas
India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas at Leh
India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas Wallpaper -sized picture Свет борьбе Индии самолетов [LCA] Tejas
India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas Wallpaper -sized picture
Свет борьбе Индии самолетов [LCA] Tejas India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas
India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas Wallpaper -sized picture Свет борьбе Индии самолетов [LCA] Tejas
India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas Wallpaper -sized picture
Свет борьбе Индии самолетов [LCA] Tejas India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas

The unfortunate thing is that these pictures had originally been shot by either the relevant Cell of the Indian Air Force or by the Aeronautical Development Agency, the nodal agency developing this aircraft. Yet, their own website remains sparse & bare bone, not hosting these pictures.

Instead, they are made available only to accredited journalists many of whom add their much undeserving watermarks on top of these. How difficult could it have been for these agencies to upload hi-res pictures from time to time, which they shoot anyway, & relevant write-ups about the same, on their own websites - a good public outreach initiative, engaging the interest of your tax-paying citizens & stoking interest amongst the students of the country to take up the challenges of developing technologies that would help further the cause of the nation.

An unfortunate fallout of the lazy [& possibly vested-interest] journalism, as practiced from time-to-time, by not an insignificant few in India, is the erroneous notion held by an alarmingly large number of Indians, that work on developing India's Light Combat Aircraft began in the early 1980s. However, this information can only be described as being furthest possible away from the truth. Mr. PS Krishnan, director of the Aeronautical Development Establishment [ADE] tries to remind us of the facts,

"You have to see that it started as a thought process in 1983 and there was no funding at that point. For the next ten years, we firmed up the requirements and then went into project definition phase. We went to France and Germany and took their expertise in fixing up the aerodynamic configuration. Post that we were ready with a firm proposal and the funding finally started from the second half of 1992. It did take time, but we had to go through the proper processes."

- source

As can be seen, the Light Combat Aircraft programme, that produced the aircraft which received the Initial Operational Clearance on January 10th, commenced only in 1992 - 10 full years after the date your average journalist would have you believe - facts are being fudged by a full decade.


Update [2011.03.08]:

Col [retd] Ajai Shukla had recently written an article detailing the expenditure incurred in the Light Combat Aircraft programme. With facts & figures provided by the Aeronautical Development Agency [ADA], it does well to dispel the factually incorrect assertions made by many, that the programme is grossly over-budget with little to show for return. Not only is the programme not over-budget, but the infrastructure set up as part of the programme & the knowledge database created during its course will prove to be an invaluable asset for India in future development programmes in particular & India's overall Technology capability, in general.

This article provides more details about financing received during the 1983-1993 period.

The LCA project began in 1983 (the name Tejas only came later), with a preliminary allocation of Rs 560 Crore for ‘feasibility studies and project definition’..... In fact, this was merely for defining the project and creating the infrastructure needed for designing, building, testing and certifying a fighter.

Only after a decade of infrastructure building did the design work start, when the ministry of defence (MoD) sanctioned Rs 2,188 Crore in 1993 (which included the initial Rs 560 crore).

As it is evident, the money, Rs. 560 Crores, had been provided to essentially evaluate whether an LCA programme could even be undertaken by India in the first place. It was only in 1993, after setting up the required infrastructure facilities and undertaking study tours to countries where such projects were underway at that time, was India convinced that it could undertake & complete such a programme successfully.

Subsequently the decision to initiate the LCA development programme was taken & the corresponding funds (Rs. 1628 Crores) was made available as part of the Phase 1 of its development, using which they actually achieved more than what was specified [in addition to the second Technology Demonstrator (TD-2), a Prototype Vehicle (PV-1)].

The Indian Rupee too lost value during that period. So what cost Rs. 26 INR in 1993 would cost Rs. 47 INR by 2001, essentially becoming twice as expensive. So any cost over-runs one may observe should also be viewed keeping this devaluation of the Indian Rupee in mind.

This table gives a quick overview of the financing proved at each stage of the aircraft's development.

Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program cost breakdown

Tarmak007's blog has yet another inspiring article about the people involved in the development of the aircraft - The Iron Bird Team: A Tejas story never told before! - must read.

Also: Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas: the people & their pursuit (weekend reading)


Add to that India's stunted & indifferent private industrial setup, lacking capability, performing much below its potential, owing to the ill-conceived & much abused license-raj culture afflicting the country at that time, thanks to the flawed Nehruvian philosophies dictating government policies, and the challenges & odds facing the Engineers & Scientists involved in the project stacked up even higher.

Despite these debilitating limitations dragging down the people involved, the Light Combat Aircraft today is as much as a reality as the Earth revolving around the Sun & its fate, somewhat indeterminate as it may be even today, is a lot brighter than it may have appeared even as late as the late 90s.

For a nation, which, till as late as the mid-90s had to choose from 3 cars to purchase - all of foreign design, manufactured & assembled in India [with QC issues that are subject of folklores], with a waiting period extending to, some say, decades, to have developed a fighter aircraft comparable to contemporary 4th generation [or even 4.5th, by some feature & technology parameters] combat aircrafts, by nations with long decades, & in some cases centaury of experience in this field, & no prior experience of developing 2nd & 3rd generation fighters, to have done so in less  than 19 years, can only be termed as a work of marvel - a miracle created by the collective efforts, sweat & toil of those involved in the project.

The variants of the Light Combat Aircraft, as it evolves through the development process.

Variants of India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas

Some snippets of information about the simulator being designed to train pilots to fly the LCA Tejas.

Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas simulator

A dated inforgraphic depicting some of the important milestones achieved by the Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas.

Milestones in the development of India's Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas

Decoupled from the development of the aircraft, is the design & development of an indigenous Turbofan engine that is to power the next Advance Medium Combat Aircraft [AMCA], the GTX-35VS Kaveri Engine. Subject to structural compatibility, if things proceed smoothly, it may even power the Mk 2 version of the Light Combat Aircraft that is currently being designed to be powered by the GE F414 engine selected recently.

The Kaveri underwent successful flight test, powering an Il-76 test-bed aircraft, at Russia's Gromov Flight Research Institute. The chief of the institute Mr. PN Vlasov attended the recently concluded Aero India air show, where he gave a lecture about flight testing Aero-systems. His lecture also covered the flight test of the Kaveri.

Chief of Russia's Gromov Flight Research Institute speaks about India's Kaveri Turbofan Engine


A Video of the Il-76 test-bed aircraft taking to air powered by the Kaveri.



  1. nice pictures dude. thanks for sharing them. that shiv error is a bloody looser. attention whore watermarks pib picz also

    going to use these as my wallpapers now

    great to read something about the sim. please try to give some more info about lca sim. nobody talking about it

    awesome dude - nice blog

  2. me again - plz let me know how to join the mailing list

  3. These photos have been around for some time. Thanks for putting them together in 1 place. The simulator info is helpful

  4. saw your blog on CE forum. nice blog. keep up the blogging & post interesting stuff like these.

  5. thanks a lot folks for the nice words - just the kind of words that makes me want to keep posting on the blog. Thanks again - much appreciated :)

  6. came to your blog while searching for Tejas wallpapers
    i like your blog shubhankar. lots of interesting topics

  7. have a look at newer tejas official website The pictures what you have included here in this blog, the superset is included in the gallery. All the photos/videos are original copyrighted by ADA

  8. Anonymous @Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    If you have noticed the date of this blog post, it states Tuesday, March 08, 2011. That is months before the new Tejas website came online [June 2011].

    At the time of my posting these pictures here, neither was the Tejas website running nor did ADA or IAF have these pictures on their existing site at that time

  9. @subhankar - you would have got all those pics either somebody from ADA or some shit head but never felt like acknowledging them. do not take credit for putting them on your website. if you are really a lover of indian aviation, stop bragging about your work. is for shutting you people's mouth. the idea to host is just that. if you have obtained the pics from source good. keep it. do not take credit for hosting it. it is not your own property. if you have any problem, come to ADA PRO cell and ask for people who are behind this official website. They will entertain your claims properly.

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      If I wished to take credit for the pictures [which by no means do I want to] wouldn't I have removed the watermarks naming the Wing Commander in some of the pictures. One look at the watermarks & it becomes amply clear I'm not the one who'd shot these photographs. So wheres is the question of taking credit & for what. Publicly circulating photographs have found yet another public place for hosting. If this is your idea of "taking credit", then I'd have to say you maintain extremely low standards :)

      Moreover, as it is amply clear you've not read the post, I've made it amply clear in the post itself, that the pictures had been taken by either IAF or ADA They've even been provided with a link here.

      Coming to the point of taking these pictures off Tejas.Gov.In, it is quite evident you're tech-challenged, as I had pointed out in the my previous comment about WHOIS record

      Take a look at the WHOIS record of Tejas.Gov.In
      It clearly states,
      Domain Name:TEJAS.GOV.IN
      Created On:03-Jun-2011 04:56:32 UTC

      This blog post where you have commented, on the other hand, was made on March 08, 2011 - 3 months before the Tejas website even came online.

      Are you capable of explaining as how could it be possible for me to take these pictures from the Tejas website, even before site existed? Pretty dumb of you to make such a suggestion huh!! :)

  10. i never mentioned that you took the pics from the website. i said that you have picked up pics from the source and the source when have come up with the website with all the collections, no way you must be patting your back for the effort. even though we had enough stuff to host a website, we have our own procedures to get a clearance to host one. when the site is up, no body in this world should pat their own back saying that i have done it before the official website is hosted. The entire idea of the official website is just to make everybody able to download the contents. there is no restriction on that. For a moment, put yourself into our shoes and feel what happens. If at all you have done in good intent, well and good and please acknowledge that whatever you possess is just a subset of what the organization has. All these collection we use to circulate earlier because we never had one gallery before. As not it is in place, please acknowledge that. We are trying to figure out how to distribute the pics we already have beyond the website.

  11. If you recollect the statement on Dec 27, 2011 11:01 PM and your subsequent comments, we had mentioned that whatever you have is the subset of the gallery posted on the website. There is no way you should have taken offensive in stating that you have the pics prior to the website. The officials or whatever sources you had collected the pics were generous enough to provide you the pics. The matter ends there. If the intention is to beat the drum about your personal work, it is fine. However, the organisation and the aircraft is way beyond any individual. Possible, come and spend a single day in our work spot and then you will appreciate about our passion for our work. I know, you will come up with more strong comments to defend yourself which will not have any bearings on our feelings.

    1. if it helps you sleep better, I've changed the ADA URL, now pointing to the ADA website itself, as opposed to its Wikipedia entry [which itself had ADA's actual URL]

      As for your,
      "The officials or whatever sources you had collected the pics were generous enough to provide you the pics."

      What official? Which official are you talking about? Everything I post here is publicly available on the Internet elsewhere, from even before.
      There is nothing official about this blog.

      The blog post had made it very clear, the pictures where taken either by the Indian Air Force or ADA. So what "beat the drum about your personal work". are you referring to?

      I've credited those because of whose "passion for our work" these pictures were taken. No credit was ever claimed by me. Those are your words, not mine


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