LCA to be operational after engine selection process

“LCA has taken a long way to come to the stage where it is now. By the middle of next year, LCA Mark-I will be inducted into the operationalised squadrons.

At the same time, the process of selection of engine for LCA Mark-II is nearing completion,” Naik said.

The Air Chief Marshal, who was briefing the media at the Indian Air Force (IAF) base here, stated that the next joint air exercise with Britain will be held in the UK.

The India-Britain joint air exercise — “Indradhanush” — which began on October 18 at Kalaikunda air base  concluded on Wednesday.

Naik said India has already signed an agreement with the UK for procuring 50 Hawk aircraft which will be used for training and the fleet will be first introduced at Bidar in Karnataka.

With the IAF now running short of around 300 to 400 pilots, the intake process has been expanded and is likely to be completed within next three-four years, he said.

The IAF is slated to induct around 126 fighter aircraft by 2012 and by the time the delivery begins, the IAF will be ready to man the squadrons, Naik claimed.

He said the IAF has been upgrading its capabilities in the northeastern region of the country by revamping eight advance landing grounds and improving major airfields.

“We are going for composite upgradation of capabilities in the Northeast. It should have been done a long time ago,” he agreed with a questioner.

Eight advance landing grounds are being upgraded and there are five to six major airfields where infrastructure will be improved to enable them to receive modern aircraft.

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