The Indian Air Force (IAF) formally inducted into service the first Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-1 in Final Operational Clearance (FOC) standard on Wednesday, and operationalised its second LCA squadron No. 18 ‘Flying Bullets’.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal (ACM) R.K.S. Bhadauria, received the first FOC standard LCA from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in a function held at Air Force Station, Sulur near Coimbatore, in Tamil Nadu.
“We are proud to deliver a much lethal aircraft than the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) block. Apart from all the capabilities of IOC aircraft, the FOC variant additionally comes with air to air refuelling capability, close combat gun, additional drop tanks, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile capability, updated avionics and flight control software suite,” HAL Chairman R. Madhavan said in a statement.
The CAS Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria flew the #LCA Tejas fighter this morning with 45 Squadron at Air Force Station Sulur. He is on a visit to the Station for operationalisation of 18 Squadron.#LCATejas#IndianAirForce pic.twitter.com/v5Bfv8EJK5— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) May 27, 2020
Mr. Madhavan said that HAL was expecting cabinet clearance for the deal of 83 LCA Mk-1A fighters by the third quarter of this year. The clearance was expected by August which got delayed due to COVID-19 situation, he said, adding that HAL was looking at exports of LCA and some countries had expressed interests.
Girish S. Deodhare, Programme Director (Combat Aircraft) and Director of Aeronautical Development Agency, said that LCA Mk-2, a bigger variant aircraft with bigger engine, was under design stage and test trials of the aircraft were expected to happen by 2022. (end of excerpt)
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