Buoyed by the final operational clearance (FOC) to its Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas by the military aviation regulator Cemilac, state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is ramping up production to deliver 16 of them for the Indian Air Force (IAF) operational fleet by this year-end, a top official said on Thursday, February 21.
"We plan to deliver 16 LCAs to the IAF in the FOC configuration by this year-end and remaining four next year as we have increased the production capacity with an upfront investment of Rs 1,380 crore in our Bengaluru complex," HAL Chairman R. Madhavan told IANS here at the Aero India air show.
As partner in co-developing and manufacturing the combat fighter, the city-based defence behemoth has already delivered to the IAF 16 Tejas in the Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) configuration.
"Of the 20 in IOC configuration, the IAF has advised us to make the four remaining as trainers in FOC configuration with four more from the second order of 20 and 16 for operational fleet," said Madhavan. The company will get additional jigs by September-October to roll out more fighters.
"As the LCA got FOC for induction in the IAF fleet, we will expand our production capacity to make 83 more LCAs once the IAF places the order for them," said Madhavan. Though the IAF has conveyed to HAL that it would require 83 more LCAs Mark 1 for its frontline bases, the government is yet to clear their cost for production by the aerospace major.
"We have responded to the request for proposal (RFP) by the IAF for 83 LCA Mk-1 with weaponization," Madhavan said on Wednesday.
The regulator Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (Cemilac) Chief Executive P. Jayapal handed over the FOC certificate and release-to-service documents to Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa on Wednesday here. Touted as the world's only lightweight combat aircraft, the advanced fourth generation Tejas is a single twin engine, agile mutli-role supersonic fighter.
The 'Made in India' fighter has quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system with advanced flight control laws.