State-owned aviation major, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has completed production of the 16th Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas as per the target till March 31, 2019. The customer flights are expected to be completed by the end of this month.
In all, HAL has orders for 40 LCAs. Sixteen of these are in Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration, 16 more in Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configuration and eight in trainer versions. The aircraft was inducted into IAF's ‘Flying Daggers’ squadron on July 1, 2016.
The production of the LCAs had commenced in 2014 with a current production capacity of eight aircraft per annum. A second production line was established at Aircraft Division (Bangalore Complex). This division is currently undertaking structural assembly, final assembly and equipping of the aircraft.
HAL had recently received drawings and documents related to FOC with limited clearance for LCA (Tejas) from the Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
With this, an official statement said, HAL can start working towards producing FOC standard fighter aircraft. “The first aircraft in FOC configuration may roll-out by the end of this calendar year.”
The LCA had demonstrated its combat capability at the IAF’s ‘Gagan Shakti’ exercise by firing the Air-to-Air BVR Derby missile. Two LCAs will be flying at the Langkawi International Maritime Aerospace Expo (Lima- 2019) in Malaysia beginning Tuesday. HAL team will be providing the technical support at the show.