The indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is finally battle ready. Mark I Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) designed and developed in India, finally overcame its last hurdle by bagging the much sought after FOC certification.
Conceptualised after more than three-and-half decades, Tejas got the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) on the first day of Aero India 2019 at the Yelahanka Air Force base on Wednesday. India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas got the final operational clearance (FOC) from military aviation regulator Cemilac for induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a weaponised fighter jet in its operational fleet
The FOC certificate and documents were handed over to Chief of India Air Force Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, who called the aircraft “battle ready”.
According to Chief of Marshal Dhanoa, LCA Tejas was “ready” and has “behaved like a true fighter” during the mega exercise Gaganshakti 2018 and the recently concluded Vayushakti in Rajasthan’s Pokhran.
An official release said FOC involves addition of key capabilities to the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) aircraft, which in main are Beyond Visual Range Missile capabilities, Air-to-Air Refuelling, Air-to-Ground FOC earmarked weapons and general flight envelope expansion. The RSD provides the capabilities, features and technologies that FOC standard Aircraft will have on induction into the IAF, it said.
The FOC standard Aircraft drawings have already been handed over to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to start production after incorporating key changes over the IOC standard Aircraft, the release said. Congratulating all the organisations involved in the Tejas project, Reddy said: “This is the best ever moment for any aeronautical engineers and a landmark day for the country’s scientists, industry and the air force.”
To a question about more orders for the aircraft, Dhanoa said the Request for the proposal would be issued for 83 LCA MK 1a, that will continue.
“Not only that we will have to take LCA Mk 2… Which in the days ahead will replace the Jaguar, Mirage and MiG 29… after that we will go to Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.
Agencies involved in the design, development and production of Tejas are Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the autonomous society of DRDO as the design agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the manufacturer.