HAL gets nod to produce weaponised version of LCA Tejas
04 January 2019
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has received the green light to proceed with the manufacture of weaponised version of the indigenously-developed light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas for the Indian Air Force and the first such aircraft is expected to be ready by the year-end, reports quoting company sources said.
The indigenously developed and built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is on final induction after going all the tests, DRDO chairman G Satheesh Reddy said in a radio interview in Bengaluru.
"LCA Tejas and Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&CS) are on final induction after going through all the tests," the DRDO chairman said.
The Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) has given the green signal to start manufacturing of Tejas Mk1 under Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configuration, the PTI report said, adding, "The actual final operational clearance, however, will take place only after extensive tests and trial."
To get the final operational clearance, the aircraft must have battle-time capabilities of mid-air refuelling, AESA radar, electronic warfare suites, a variety of bombs and weapons, among others, he said.
The CEMILAC had accepted the design documents submitted by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which had designed and developed Tejas, he added.
CEMILAC is a DRDO laboratory authorised to certify military aircraft and airborne systems. "The IAF has ordered 40 LCA aircraft. Of this, 20 will be FOC-configured. Another 20 are IOC (Initial Operational Clearance)-configured," the report quoted HAL spokesperson as saying.
IAF already has 10 to 11 IOC-configured Tejas and the force is getting acquainted with the LCA's competencies, the report said adding that the first weaponised aircraft is expected to be ready with FOC configuration by the year-end, ie, between October and December.
Designed and developed by DRDO's Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and built by the state-run defence aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Tejas is a supersonic fourth generation fighter for induction in the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet and its variant in the Indian Navy.
Pending final operational clearance (FOC) for its weaponised version, the IAF formed the first Tejas unit - No 45 Squadron IAF `Flying Daggers’ - on 1 July 2016 with two aircraft.