India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is set to get an on board oxygen (OBOX) generating system, which will help keep the pilots airbone for longer durations, by December this year or early 2020, reports The New Indian Express.
According to the report, the researchers at Defence Electromedical and Bio-Engineering Laboratory (DEBEL), under the Defence Research and Development Organisation, have developed the OBOX generating system.
Earlier last year, IAF’s Tejas LCA MK-1 successfully completed the mid-air refuelling exercise that enables aircraft to remain longer in the air. The OBOX generating system will reportedly help in keeping the pilot fit and alert for an equally long duration with continuous supply of oxygen while on high-altitude, long-distance flights.
“As of now, a fighter pilot is airborne with a bottle of oxygen, a cylinder that comes with the aircraft, which has the capacity to last an hour at the most, before coming back to base to get it replenished. However, with the OBOX, oxygen will be available throughout, as long as the engine is running,” a DEBEL scientist was quoted in the report as saying.
As per the report, the OBOX system will intake the bleed air being thrown out of the engine along with the exhaust, and then process it through sieves. Through this ‘absorption process’, Nitrogen will be separated out while pure oxygen will be generated.
“We have successfully completed lab trials. Now it is to have flight trials. Which is expected by the end of this year or by 2020. After that, this will be fitted on the Tejas,” the scientist said.
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