The LCA Tejas is on time

The December 2018 deadline for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas to attain Final Operational Clearance (FOC) has been partially met with the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) handing over FOC related documents to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The documents (drawing applicability lists) were handed over by ADA on December 31 after it was vetted by Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC), the certifying agency for military aircraft in the country. “The documents were handed over on December 31 to start the FOC process. The handing over of the drawing applicability lists assumes significance as it signals that HAL can go ahead with the production of the FOC standard aircraft,”. The FOC complaint Tejas would incorporate Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, improved and better stand-off weapons and air to air refueling capability. The Indian Air Force and HAL has so far signed two contracts for procurement of 20 Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) standard aircraft and 20 Final Operational Clearance (FOC) standard aircraft. As per the initial order of the 20 IOC aircraft 16 were meant to be fighter jets and four were to be trainers. However the IAF now wants all the trainers in FOC configuration. The production of all the IOC aircraft is expected to be completed by March 2019. Recently ahead of the FOC the Tejas programme attained a significant milestone as it successfully completed the Wet (actual) engagement by transferring 1900 Kgs fuel from IAF IL78 mid-air refueling tanker. The 45 Squadron of the IAF “The Flying Daggers” which was the first squadron to be equipped with LCA-Tejas is stationed in an IAF base in Sulur, near Coimbatore. Apart from the 40 IOC and FOC standard aircraft HAL has received Request for Proposal (RFP) to supply of 83 Tejas and the production is planned from 2019-2020. The production of these 83 aircraft will start after the completion of the 20 LCA. Recently the Public Accounts Committee criticised the HAL and ADA over failure in timely delivery of the Tejas. In its report it was also critical at FOC not been met “The Committee are aghast to note that as July 31, 2018, IAF has only got nine out of the 200 fighter and 20 trainer aircraft envisaged in ASR. These six aircraft have been productionised after only Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) and are not combat ready, as yet. The committee are perturbed to note that the FOC has still not been achieved by the LCA even after more than 5 years of IOC,” it stated.


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