BENGALURU. In a significant development the Ministry of Defence has accorded Final Operational Clearance to Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas MK I for Indian Air Force (IAF).
The formal declaration of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of the aircraft was made by Secretary Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy in Bengaluru during Aero India 2019 on February 20.
The day also witnessed the handing over of FOC Certificate and Release to Service Document (RSD) to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, in the presence of Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) R Madhavan.
FOC involves addition of key capabilities to the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) aircraft which are Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile capabilities. Air-to-Air Refuelling, Air-to-Ground FOC earmarked weapons and general flight envelope expansion.
The RSD provides the capabilities, features and technologies that FOC standard aircraft will have on induction into IAF. The FOC standard aircraft drawings have already been handed over to HAL to start production after incorporating key changes over the IOC standard aircraft.
The Initial Operational Clearance of the aircraft took place in the year 2013 and IOC standard aircraft were inducted into IAF No. 45 Squadron, in July 2016. The IAF Squadron has since flown over 1500 sorties successfully on the Aircraft.
It is a proud day for all the agencies involved in the design, development and production of the aircraft i.e., Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the autonomous society of DRDO as the design agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited as the manufacturer.
Many other DRDO laboratories like ADE, GTRE, LRDE, CEMILAC etc., as well as other agencies such as BEL, CSIR, DG-AQA, and private sector agencies have contributed in the journey of LCA.