The Indian Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas) has had a long and checkered developmental history. Ever since the programme commenced with the formation of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in 1985, the project has been beset with difficulties
like finding a suitable person to be the Chief Designer, marshalling talent and resources, the economic crisis of 1991 and the post-Pokharan II US technology sanctions.
Now for the first time the public will have an opportunity to know what went on inside the project with the publication of The Tejas Story, by Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar (Retd) who worked in the project for nine years from 1994 to 2003. He was in charge of the flight test programme which is a crucial phase in the development of any aircraft. His first person account written from that perspective is an absorbing read.
The author traces in some detail the development of the all important
fly-by-wire flight control system, which was being developed in India for the first time. The less than ideal relationship between the three key players in the project, ADA, HAL and the IAF can be read between the lines. In spite of this, the many challenges overcome by the development team is a heartwarming success story of Indian technological endeavour.
The book must be read by all those keen on following India's progress towards self-reliance in the defence sector.
Author: Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar
Features: B/W photos