Tejas to have On-Board oxygen system by early 2020


Short History

  • It was in 1984 that the government of India first moved decisively to kick-start the process to build an indigenous aircraftAeronautical Development Agency (ADA) was set up by the government to develop the programme.
  • In 1986Rs 575 crores were allocated by the then government towards funding the programme.
  • On January 4th, 2001the light combat aircraft made its first flight, a milestone in the Indian aviation industry. 
  • Then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee named the aircraft ‘Tejas’ – which means ‘radiance’ in Sanskrit.

Facts about Tejas

  • The aircraft is equipped to handle air-to-air missilesair-to-surface missilesanti-ship missiles, bombs and rockets.
  • The aircraft’s structure is composed of 42% carbon fibre composites43% aluminium alloy and the remainder titanium alloy.
  • The aircraft is being developed in single-seat fighter and twin-seat trainer variants for the IAF and the Navy.
  • It is considered to be the lightest multi-role supersonic aircraft of its class.
  • The aircraft can travel at a maximum speed of 2,205 km/hr for FOC(final operational clearance) version and 2,000 km/hr for IOC(initial operational clearance) version.

Planned production variants are: 

  • Tejas Trainer 
  • Tejas Mark 1A 
  • Tejas Trainer IN
  • Tejas MK1 Navy 
  • Tejas Mk2 Navy 
  • Tejas Mark 2

Tejas Trainer

What happened recently??

  • According to a scientist from Defence Electromedical & Bio-Engineering Laboratory (DEBEL) under DRDO India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will be graduating to the next level with the installation of the On-board Oxygen (OBOX) generating system by December or early 2020.
  • It is to be noted that last year Tejas mk-1 performed successful mid air refueling, which enables aircrafts to be airborne for longer durations.
  • Now, DEBEL researchers have developed the onboard oxygen generating system, OBOX,  to help keep the pilot fit and alert for an equally long duration with continuous supply of oxygenwhile on high altitude, long-distance flights.

F-16 OBOX.
Image source:Blue Aerospace

How will it help the pilot??

  • As of now, a fighter pilot is airborne with a bottle of oxygen, a cylinder that comes with the aircraft, which has the capacity to last an hour at the most, before coming back to base to get it replenished. However, with the OBOX, oxygen will be available throughout, as long as the engine is running..

How will the self replenishing system work??

  • The box will suck the bleed air which is being thrown out of the engine along with the exhaust, and then processes it through sieves. Nitrogen is separated through this ‘absorption process’ and pure oxygen is generated.
  • “We have successfully completed lab trials. Now it is to have flight trials. Which is expected by the end of this year or by 2020. After that, this will be fitted on the Tejas,” he said.
  • The 14.5 kg OBOX has been designed for the Tejas and will be later used with small modification on Sukhois and Hawks.

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