India displays light combat aircraft
BANGALORE: India held the first public demonstration of one of the world’s lightest combat aircraft on Sunday and said it would explore prospects for its export.
The eight-tonne aircraft, delayed by Washington’s sanctions against India’s nuclear policy, has been designed by the government’s Aeronautical Development Agency and built by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Cheers rent the air at the Bangalore Airport as a Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) performing in a public fly-past dipped its wings in salute to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who later named the aircraft “Tejas”, or “Radiance”. “We need to make the necessary investments for the commercial production of the LCA,” Vajpayee said. “We should also explore its export potential.” The aircraft — in development since 1983 — has been a long-cherished dream of India’s air force chiefs who wanted to reduce their country’s dependence on foreign imports. —Agencies