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First squadron of LCAs to be stationed at Sulur airbase

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TIRUCHIRAPALLI (PTI): The first squadron of India’s Light Combat Aircraft Tejas would be located at Sulur airbase near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, a senior DRDO official said.

Twenty LCAs would be stationed at Sulur in the first phase by early 2012 and as many aircraft would be added to the squadron subsequently, DRDO Chief Controller (R&D) W Selvamurthy said, adding, requisite facilities including hanger and runway were being put in place.

Similarly another fleet of 40 LCAs, designed by DRDO and manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, would be stationed at an airbase near Dindigul in Tamil Nadu by the second half of next year, he told reporters.

The Defence ministry had already attested initial operation clearance last year and LCA’s Air and Naval variants had already been rolled out.

He said DRDO was also planning to develop unmanned aerial vehicles in four versions and prototype models had already been made.

The fifth version of Agni ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 kms is likely to be demonstrated by January.

Selvamurthy, who is also in-charge of international cooperation wing of DRDO, said several pacts were envisaged with countries like USA, UK, France, Israel and Belarus to develop Joint Ventures for production of ultra modern weapons and equipment for Defence purposes.

He said an Indo-US joint technology group has been set up to develop foliage penetration radars and ground penetration radars which would help in anti-terrorist and anti-insurgency operations. A two-year timeframe had been set to design and develop the related products.

Earlier, addressing students of National Institute of Technology here, he said DRDO would recruit a minimum of 5,000 people, including 3,000 scientists, in the next six months.

DRDO, with over 50 laboratories across the country, has a headcount of 30,000 including about 8,000 scientists.

He said orders worth Rs 20,000 crores have been received for Akash missiles from different defence establishments in the world.

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IAF  LCA  Tejas  
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