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Light Combat Aircraft

The maiden flight of the first Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Technology Demonstrator 1 (TD1) aircraft took place at 1018 hrs on 4 January, 2001. The flight was successful and met all the test parameters set for the flight. The flight lasted 18 minutes. This is a significant landmark in the LCA project and marks the entry of LCA into the Flight Test Programme. The aircraft was piloted by Wg Cdr Rajiv Kothiyal of the National Flight Test Centre, ADA, headed by Air Marshal P Rajkumar,  PVSM, AVSM, VM.

LCA is an advanced technology, single seat, single engine, supersonic, light-weight, all-weather, multi-role, air superiority fighter designed for air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-sea combat roles. The purpose of flight test programme: was to validate a number of advanced technologies incorporated in LCA. These include: Unstable configuration, quadruplex fly-by-wire digital flight control system, integrated avionics with glass cockpit, advanced composite materials for primary structure and a novel utility systems management system.

The LCA programme was conceived in 1983. The project definition phase was completed in 1989 and the full scale engineering development (FSED) phase-I was sanctioned in 1993. The development effort for LCA is spearheaded by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), an autonomous society under the Department of Defence Research & Development. ADA is responsible for project design, project monitoring and promoting the development of advanced technologies of relevance to the LCA. The principal partner of LCA is Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and its divisions located in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Nasik, and Korwa. The DRDO laboratories that have participated in the design and development of LCA are: Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bangalore; Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad; Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi; Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), Bangalore; Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), Bangalore; Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR), Bangalore; Advanced Systems Integration & Evaluation Organisation (ASIEO), Bangalore; Defence Bio-engineering & Electro-medical Laboratory (DEBEL), Bangalore; Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad; Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment (ADRDE), Armament R&D Establishment (ARDE), Pune; High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune; Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC), Bangalore; and
Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), Hyderabad. The other collaborating organisations are:

    Public Sector Undertakings

        Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore
        Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (MIDHANI) , Hyderabad
        Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), Hyderabad
        Indian Petro-Chemicals Limited (IPCL), Vadodara
        Bharat Heavy Plates & Vessels (BHPV), Visakhapatnam

   CSIR Laboratories and other Autonomous Organisations

        National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), Bangalore
        Central Scientific & Industrial Organisation (CSIO) , Chandigarh
        Structural Engineering Research Centre (SERC) , Chennai
        Central Electro-Chemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi
        Central Machine Tools Institute (CMTI) , Bangalore
        Government Toolroom & Training Centre (GTTC) , Bangalore

    Ordnance Factories

        Ambajari, Ambarnath, Medak, and Avadi 

    Indian Air Force (IAF) Establishments

        IAF Programme Management Team (PMT), Bangalore
        Aircraft Systems & Testing Establishment (ASTE), Banga1ore
        Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM), Bangalore
        Central Servicing Development Organisation (CSDO) , Bangalore

    Academic Institutions

        Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) at Mumbai, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Chennai, and Delhi
        Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore
        Jadavpur University,  Kolkatta
        PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore

    Private Sector Entities

        Machine Tools and Reconditioning Limited (MTAR) , Hyderabad
        Kobayashi Limited, Hyderabad
        High Energy Batteries Limited, Hyderabad
        Turbotech, Bangalore
        Southern Electronics, Bangalore
        Kumaran Industries, Bangalore
        Shanthi Gears, Mysore
        JS Lamps, Delhi
        Walchand Industries, Walchandnagar
        Sanghvi Aerospace,  Ahmedabad

In addition, 300 small and medium scale firms participated in the project. The LCA programme, thus, is a national aeronautical endeavour encompassing all available talents in the country across a wide spectrum availing the services  of institutions and industries, both public and private.