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First indigenous Combat Plane of India enters service after 33 Years

The single-seat Indian fighter is considered superior to counterparts like the JF-17 aircraft jointly built by China and Pakistan

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Tejas. Image source: militaryaviationnews.wordpress.com
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  • India’s fighter aircraft fleet, made up of a mix of Russian, British and French planes
  • China said it is still testing its first stealth fighter, the J-20, but it would enter service soon
  • The single-seat Indian fighter is considered superior to counterparts like the JF-17 aircraft jointly built by China and Pakistan

India’s first locally-built combat aircraft officially took to the skies on Friday, 33 years after it was cleared for development, marking a long-held goal of cutting expensive imports to build a domestic defense-industrial base.

BENGALURU- India’s fighter aircraft fleet, made up of a mix of Russian, British and French planes, is down to 33 squadrons as against the air force’s requirement of 45 to face Pakistan and China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has nudged the military to accept the first version of the “Tejas” Light Combat Aircraft to make up for the shortfall while a more powerful subsequent model is under development.

Indian Air Force officers broke coconuts and priests held multi-faith ceremonies to mark the induction of two planes in the southern city of Bengaluru. Later, the aircraft took off in the colors of the air force as fire tenders sprayed water on he tarmac in a military ritual.

“Moment of national pride. Indigenously developed Tejas fighter jet inducted into Air Force. Tejas will take our air strength to new heights,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who has led the drive for indigenisation, said in a Twitter post.

Early this month, in June, China said it is still testing its first stealth fighter, the J-20, but it would enter service soon.

Crew inspecting first J-20 prototype. Image source: manglermuldoon.blogspot.com
Crew inspecting first J-20 prototype. Image source: manglermuldoon.blogspot.com

The single-seat Indian fighter is considered superior to counterparts like the JF-17 aircraft jointly built by China and Pakistan. Tejas has had no accident in 3,000 hours of flying and its use of composites helps lower its radar signature, making it harder to detect early, air force officials said.

“The LCA is as good as any in the world in its class,” said retired Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur now a fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies in New Delhi.

But the challenge for state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which is making the aircraft, will be to stick to the production schedule as the air force seeks to arrest the decline in the number of planes it can deploy, he said.

HAL only has the capacity to produce four Tejas planes a year, a government-appointed audit committee said in a report last year. The plan is to increase production capacity to eight, a defense ministry official said on Friday, June 30.

India is separately negotiating for the purchase of 36 top end Rafale fighter planes from France’s Dassault Aviation, a scaled-back deal that has been hanging fire since 2012. (Reuters)

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  • Aparna Gupta

    Tejas means Radiation, the name was suggested by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. This will strengthen the IAF.

  • AJ Krish

    It is indeed a big achievement. The fight starts from now on, though. They should strive to build more planes with lesser imports and finally make a complete indigenous plane.

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10 Media Outlets From India Selected For YouTube Funding

Other projects look at the sustainability of news organisations, including work on new business models and programmes to support a healthy news ecosystem

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10 Indian media outlets among 87 selected for YouTube funding. Pixabay

Ten media outlets from India have been selected for receiving YouTube innovation funding as part of the Google News Initiative (GNI) to help newsrooms and publishers strengthen their online video capabilities and experiment with new formats for video journalism.

These 10 news organisations – Asianet News Media and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., Bharatiya Digital Party (BhaDiPa), FACTLY, Gaon Connection, India Today Group, Live Data Visualisation Pvt. Ltd., NDTV, NYOOOZ, ShepHertz and Video Volunteers — are among the 87 selected from 23 countries.

“Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to supporting a strong future for news video,” Timothy Katz, Director of News Partnerships, YouTube, said in a blog post on Tuesday.

“Hailing from 23 countries around the world, they represent a diverse array of broadcasters, traditional and digital publishers, local media, agencies and creators, but all share a commitment to quality journalism and a spirit of innovation,” Katz added.

YouTube is rolling out a new service "YouTube Music" on May 22 to seperate the music and film components on the Google-owned video-sharing platform.
YouTube. Pixabay

As part of the launch of Google News Initiative in March, YouTube committed $25 million funding to support the future of news.

Many of the projects selected for the innovation funding are focused on expanding newsroom video operations and trying out new ways of reporting news through video — from reaching younger audiences online to exploring live and fact-checking formats.

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Other projects look at the sustainability of news organisations, including work on new business models and programmes to support a healthy news ecosystem.

“Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing insights gained from the projects and giving newsrooms the opportunity to benefit from the learnings,” Katz added. (IANS)