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An indigenously developed digital fly-by-wire flight control computer was integrated into the Tejas light combat jet, the defence ministry said on Tuesday, describing it as a “significant development” in the aircraft programme.

The home-grown Tejas is a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft capable of operating in high-threat air environments. It has been designed to undertake air defence, maritime reconnaissance and strike roles.

“In a significant development towards Tejas Mk1A programme, the digital fly-by-wire flight control computer (DFCC) was integrated into prototype LSP7 and successfully flown on February 19,” the defence ministry said.

The DFCC has been indigenously developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru, for the Tejas-Mk1A version.

All critical parameters and performance of the flight controls were found satisfactory, the ministry said in a statement. The maiden flight was piloted by Wing Commander Siddarth Singh KMJ (Retd) of the National Flight Test Centre.

The Indian Air Force has already operationalised Tejas LCA Mk1. The improved version of the aircraft, Tejas MK1A features an advanced mission computer, high-performance digital flight control computer (DFCC Mk1A), smart multi-function displays (SMFD), advanced electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, advanced self-protection jammer, and electronic warfare suit among others, the ministry said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh complimented joint teams from the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the IAF, ADA and industries involved in the development and successful flight test of this critical system for Tejas Mk1A.

Singh described it as a major step towards ‘atmanirbharata’ (self-reliance) with a reduced count of special imports. Tejas aircraft are set to be the mainstay of the IAF. It has already inducted nearly 40 Tejas of initial variants.

In February 2021, the defence ministry sealed a Rs 48,000 crore deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for procurement of 83 Tejas MK-1A jets for the IAF. In November, the ministry accorded an initial approval to procure an additional batch of 97 Tejas jets for the IAF.

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