Light Combat Aircraft Tejas: In a major step in the direction of full combat operationalisation of India’s own light combat aircraft – LCA, its manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Tuesday conducted first flight of the aircraft as per the final operational clearance specifications. The FOC version of Tejas has been designated as SP-21.
This maiden flight of Tejas in full operational clearance version lasted for forty minutes and it was flown by Air Commodore KA Muthana (Retd) from the HAL’s Bengaluru airport at around 12.30 in the noon.
The FOC-standard Tejas is equipped with several advanced features such as air-to-air refueling, beyond visual range (BVR) missiles.
“This signifies exemplary team work between various stakeholders of the LCA Tejas programme such as HAL, Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification, Indian Air Force and Aeronautical Development Agency,” said R Madhavan, chairman and managing director of HAL.
“It has a lot of manufacturing improvements which were based on the operational feedback of initial LCA fleet with the IAF,” said the state owned combat jet manufacturer in a statement.
“HAL achieved the momentous feat within a record time of 12 months after the release of Drawing Applicability List (DAL) and SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) by CEMILAC.”
Recently the ministry of defence has awarded a $5.45 billion contract to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for procuring 83 LCA Tejas aircraft for the Indian Air Force.
The Bengaluru based public sector aircraft manufacturer said the successful flight of Tejas in full operational clearance configuration would pave the way for production of remaining 15 fighters as per the FOC specifications.
These 15 Tejas combat jets are expected to be delivered to the IAF during the next financial year (April-June 2020-2021 period).