Finally, FOC certification for Mark I Tejas

Mark I Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) designed and developed in India, on Wednesday overcame its last hurdle by finally bagging what is called the FOC certification.

The FOC or final operational clearance, coming on the first day of Aero India 2019, certifies that the world’s lightest fighter plane is “ready for battle.”

As its stakeholders stood in front of an LCA prototype, endorsements of the LCA's fire power came in from none other than its prospective user - the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief MArshal Birendra Singh Dhanoa - who said, "It is ready, it behaved like a true fighter. This is the proof of the pudding." The IAF would look beyond Mk1, too.

Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra hoped that LCA-MkI would get inducted soon into Air Force.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd is also ready to start producing 16 LCAs in the improved FOC version, HAL CMD R.Madhavan said. The first 16 are almost fully delivered in the intermediate IOC.

With an LCA prototype in the background,Secretary, Defence R&D, G.Satheesh Reddy, whose organisation ADA developed the fighter, declared the aircraft FOC compliant and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra handed over the document to Air Chief Marshal B.S.Dhanoa, the chief of LCA's user, the Indian Air Force. The LCA was born and produced in defence agencies located in Bengaluru. FOC movements began in the last week of December 2018

Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa noted that Tejas has shown its fire power over its 1,500 sorties.Calling the FOC a milestone for LCA Mk1, he said, "You saw today how the aircraft flew and the sorties it made. During Gaganshakti of April 2018 and in last week's Vayushakti also it accurately dispensed weapons on the target and delivered in air to air combat."

As for formally placing an approved but pending order for 83 LCAs, the Chief of Air Staff said it was a separate matter as an RFP (request for proposal) for a purchase from HAL was under process.

"After that we should take up LCA-Mk2 which is a few points above this and which in the long term would replace the [present combat fleet of] the Jaguar, the Mirage and the MiG-29. After that we go to AMCA [the fifth generation Advanced Medium combat Aircraft]" that is on the drawing board at LCA's developer, the Aeronautical Development Agency.

Declaring the FOC, DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy under whom ADA functions, described it thus: "This is the best ever moment for any aeronautical engineer, and a landmark day for scientists, industry and the air force."

Mr. Madhavan said HAL and IAF would jointly finance its 1380-crore infrastructure. He recalled that the LCA is the first Indian fighter aircraft after Marut of the 1960s: 147 HF-24 Marut fighter-bomber aircraft were built by HAL and operated by the IAF between 1967 and 1990.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 11:56:57 PM |

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