Thursday, December 09, 2010

Fighter jet Tejas to become induction- ready by December-end

Published: Wednesday, Dec 8, 2010,
2:00 IST
By Suman Sharma | Place: New
Delhi | Agency: DNA
Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel
will finally get to fly indigenous
fighter jet light combat aircraft
(LCA) Tejas for training purposes as
the craft is all set to acquire its
initial operational clearance (IOC)
by the end of this month.
The fighter jet had its maiden flight
seven years ago.
Bangalore-based Aeronautical
Development Agency, the body
which monitors the LCA
programme, has set December 27
as the deadline.
This will coincide with the first flight
of the naval version of the LCA-
Tejas aircraft.
IOC will allow IAF to have the
aircraft inducted in its squadrons
and its personnel to fly the aircraft
for training purposes.
An IOC-declared fighter is ready to
perform all functions except go to
the battle field. Only after the final
operational clearance (FOC) does an
aircraft become battle-worthy, as
FOC certifies an aircraft for weapon
delivery. An FOC may take a year
to two years after the IOC.
Former air chief FH Major told DNA,
“ It’s a milestone indeed for the IAF
to achieve the IOC for Tejas. Even
an IOC-declared aircraft can
perform all functions, especially
training-flying, but can ’t be sent
into battle as it is not fully
weapons-certified. ” The R-73 is the
chosen air-to-air close combat
missile for Tejas.
The LCA programme, which began
in 1983, produced its first prototype vehicle in 2003. The programme
began with an aim to replace the aging MiG-21 fighters but has
suffered a record delay and cost
overruns of over 10 times.
The project which was
conceptualised in the early 1980s
was sanctioned Rs2,188 crore for its phase-1 development in June 1993.The phase-two of the programme was sanctioned in November 2001 at a cost of Rs3,302 crore. The programme has so far completed 872 test flights on six aircraft.

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