With the deadline for attaining the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fast approaching, the Aeronautical Development Agency is confident of meeting its target.
The FOC compliant Tejas would incorporate Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, improved and better stand-off weapons and air-to-air refueling capability.
After the project missed the June deadline for FOC, a revised cut-off was fixed for December-end.
The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which is the nodal agency for the LCA programme, is confident of meeting this deadline even as the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has expressed doubts.
Last week, HAL Chairman R Madhavan said that the attaining FOC by the end of December could be a problem and that it could be pushed to next year.
“The FOC in December could be a problem. It would most probably take place next year,” Madhavan had said.
However, Aeronautical Development Agency Director Girish S Deodhare told Bangalore Mirror that the FOC deadline would not be missed and that it would take place by the end of December.
“We have forwarded all the drawings of the FOC aircraft to HAL for production. The drawings were handed over in August and we do not expect any delay. Formally, the FOC should be done by December-end,” he said.
The Indian Air Force and HAL have 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 to be trainers. However, the IAF now wants all the trainers in FOC configuration.
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 Final Operational Clearance (FOC) standard LCA aircraft.
Source: Economic Times