It's official! And, it is as close as it can get! India's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will be at a ‘striking distance' of Pakistan's JF-17 Thunder in Bahrain. The Bahrain International Air Show (BIAS) is scheduled from January 21-23 at the Sakhir Airbase.
At BIAS, two Tejas aircraft will be parked next to two Pakistan's JF-17s on aircraft display Pad No 15. Two Royal Air Force Typhoons will also be parked on Pad No 15. Behind the Tejas, the entire Pad No 14 has been allotted to the United Arab Emirate's Al Fursan aerobatic display team. Pakistan's JF-17s is a joint development project of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and China's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation. Operational with the Pakistan Air Force since 2010, the JF-17s have already seen some international air shows, including Paris. It's unclear on what basis the organisers have grouped two military platforms from two not-so-friendly nations on the same parking bay.
The move is expected to grab immense media attention during the show. An LCA Tejas telemetry cabin with a tracking antenna and other equipment have also been given a space inside the Sakhir Airbase area, closer to the static aircraft display trade area. Likely to reach Bahrain today Military sources have confirmed to OneIndia that two Tejas platforms LSP-4 and LSP-7 are scheduled to fly out of Air Force Station Jamnagar on Wednesday. "The planes reached Jamnagar last week from Bengaluru and they are all set to fly out to Muscat today.
It will be historic in many ways as Tejas will be cruising out of Indian skies for the first time," an officer told OneIndia. In the last one week, in addition to various technical clearances, Tejas had to undergo a series of mandatory custom checks at the Jamnagar base. "It will have a stopover at Muscat before flying out to Sakhir Airbase in Bahrain. It is scheduled to reach Bahrain today itself," the officer said.
Technical crew spread across different bases A team of over 150 technicians, engineers and ground crew have already been positioned at Jamnagar, Muscat and Bahrain ahead of the Tejas' historic outing. As reported by OneIndia recently, Tejas had cleared one of the most critical flight test parameters in the programme, when the pilots pulled 8 'g' (limit of envelope) during its test flights in Bengaluru last month.
A top delegation from Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is expected to depart for Bahrain next week ahead of the air show. "It's a massive effort by the team to ensure that the planes are in good shape and ready for the demonstration. Everyone is excited since it is for the first time Tejas will be performing outside India," the officer added.