LCA Tejas
A LCA Tejas seen lifting off during a test run by the Indian Air Force.Aeronautical Development Agency/Rana

In the run up to the first flight test of LCA Tejas' third series production variant (SP-3), the Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has completed EGR (engine ground run) and is gearing up for LSTT (low-speed taxi trials).

The SP-3's first flight test would be conducted within a week after the completion of HSTT (high-speed taxi trials) of this indigenous aircraft. However, the maiden flight test of LCA Tejas SP-3 will be subject to favourable weather conditions and zero snags, Mathrubhumi reported.

HAL officials are pulling all stops to try and get SP-3 ready in time for this year's Air Force Day (8 October). Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha wanted to see all the three series production variants lined up at Hindon Air Force base in the static display arena.

Currently, the SP-3 boasts of having around 340 pipelines and 50 panels, which meet the interchangeability standards (ICY). However, the next series production variant is expected to feature around 700-plus pipelines and 100 panels that will meet the interchangeability standards. ICY allows the maintenance team to quickly replace any component without affecting the aircraft's operational performance.

The LCA Tejas SP-3 will be flown by Air Commodore K A Muthanna (Retd), the report noted.

LCA Tejas SP-1 made its first flight test on 1 September, 2014. Meanwhile, SP-2 was first flown on 23 March 2016. Both the variants have been delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF), which are part of the No 45 Flying Daggers Squadron.

Meanwhile, the LCA Tejas SP-9 is in different stages of assembly at HAL's LCA division, according to the report.

HAL is trying to increase the LCA Tejas aircraft deliveries to six by the end of March 2017.