HAL Tejas
Ingeniously made Light Combat Aircraft, TejasYoutube/ LCA Tejas

The 'Made in India' Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), or Tejas, has finally been accorded the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) by aviation certifying authorities. The fighter aircraft which is completely designed and developed in India, bagged the FOC certification on the first day of Aero India 2019. This means that the world's lightest fighter plane is now battle ready. The news comes as a boost for the Indian Air force as it is struggling to keep up with its depleting fleet.

The Indian Air Force on Wednesday received the 'release to service' certificate from Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), whose lab Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) designed the aircraft. IAF chief, Birender Singh Dhanoa showered praise on the indigenously made Tejas.

It's a major milestone today that we have got the FOC of the LCA MK 1. Like I had told you, the proof of the pudding is in eating. You saw how much the aircraft could fly and the number of sorties it could generate during Gagan Shakti, which was in April 2018. And during Vayu Shakti, we showed you how accurately this aircraft could dispense weapons on the target. So that is the proof
- IAF Chief BS Dhanoa

The HAL Tejas is a single-engine, multirole light fighter designed and developed jointly by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. The operation then called Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, began in the 1980s to replace India's aging MiG-21 fighters. The LCA was officially given named as "Tejas" in 2003. 

It is to be noted that the FOC and release to service happened at the time when final DAL (Drawing Applicability Lists) of Tejas was released to HAL on December 31. After the release of DAL, the HAL could go ahead with the production of the aircraft in FOC configuration.

Indian Air Force (IAF) light combat aircraft
Indian Air Force (IAF) light combat aircraft "Tejas". Representative Image (Image: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

Till date, the IAF has placed the order of 40 aircraft, out of which HAL has manufactured 14. The IAF has accepted 10 aircraft and has been operating in Sulur by no.45 Squadron the Flying Daggers. Air Chief Marshal, BS Dhanoa further added that the is soon issue RFP Request For Proposal (RFP) for 83 Tejas MK-1A aircraft. The IAF is in dire need of fighter aircraft as its strength has been depleting alarmingly over the years.