Defence minister Mr A K Antony last week expressed the hope that the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft would finally get the final operational clearance (FOC) next year. But a hard‐nosed “internal assessment” shows Antony’s dream will be shattered. The single‐engine Tejas, already 30 years in the making, will not become combat‐worthy anytime before end‐2015. “The reality is that around a dozen Tejas prototypes are barely flying a couple of sorties a day. The initial operational clearance (IOC) ‐II has again already been pushed to November this year from the earlier June‐July deadline. It will take at least 18 months from IOC‐II to FOC,” said a source. In fact, the foremost challenge before the new DRDO chief‐cum‐scientific advisor to the defence minister, missile scientist Mr Avinash Chander, is to ensure that the long‐running, meandering Tejas project firmly heads towards completion because it’s absolutely critical for India to have its own home grown fighter.
Source: Times of India