LCA Tejas gets final operational clearance to join IAF

LCA Tejas gets final operational clearance to join IAF

Tejas aircraft flays during the inauguration of Aero India 2019 at Yelahanka Airbase in Bengaluru on Wednesday 20th February 2019. Photo by Janardhan B K

The indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas on Wednesday received the much-awaited Final Operational Clearance (FOC) from military aviation regulator, the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (Cemilac).

With this, the aircraft can now be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a weaponised fighter jet in its operational fleet. Cemilac Chief Executive P Jayapal formally handed over the ‘release-to-service’ documents to the Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal B S Dhanoa at the Aero India 2019 here.

Dhanoa told mediapersons that this is a major milestone for LCA. “The aircraft could fly in many sorties and demonstrate the precision with which it can deliver weapons,” he said.

The IAF Chief noted that Tejas had accurately performed air-to-ground attacks and air-to-air refuelling at IAF’s Vayu Shakti air display on February 16 at Pokhran in Rajasthan.

State-owned aviation major, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has already responded to the Request for Proposal (RFP) floated by the Air Force for 83 LCA Mk-1 with weaponisation, informed HAL Chairman and Managing Director, R Madhavan.

DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy described the grant of FOC to Tejas as a landmark moment for the aeronautic scientists, the industry and businesses.

Tejas, which has already completed 1,500 sorties, is designed and developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency and built by HAL. A supersonic fourth generation fighter, a Tejas variant is also to be inducted into the Indian Navy.