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PM to select Sanskrit name for LCA on May 4
Sunday, April 27 2003 12:40 Hrs (IST)

Bangalore: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will christen the indigenous multi-role light combat aircraft (LCA) on May 4, after witnessing a flight demonstration of the aircraft at the HAL airport in Bangalore.

"Vajpayee will select a suitable name from a list of 20 Sanskrit names identified for LCA. He will also roll out the prototype vehicle (PV-1) of the aircraft," Aeronautical Development Agency sources said.

ADA officials said Defence Minister George Fernandes, scientific advisor to the Defence Minister V K Aatre and senior officials would witness the demonstration of LCA.

Conceived in 1983, the development of LCA had been hit by delays due to various reasons, including sanctions by the United States post Pokhran-blasts before it made its maiden flight on January 4, 2001.

Two technology demonstrators TD-1 and TD-2 have so far made 66 flights and a final clearance for the aircraft is expected after 2,000 hours of flying.

"The Sanskrit names have been chosen from Hindu mythology and are apt for the next-generation fighter," sources said. The tailless, delta-winged, digital, fly-by-wire aircraft, which is presently fitted with a GE-404 engine is expected to replace the Indian Air Force's aging MiG-21 fleet in future.

Limited series production of six aircraft is already underway at HAL and is expected to be delivered by 2008 around the same time when the aircraft is certified.

PTI



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