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LCA Tejas Gets Initial Operational Clearance for Induction into IAF

New Delhi, December 20: The Defence Minister AK Antony today handed over the Release to Service Certificate of the country’s own Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas, to the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, at a function in Bengaluru, marking  the fruition of a long and difficult journey of three decades of efforts to make a fighter aircraft of international standards.

Described as Initial Operational Clearance-II of Tejas, the LCA is designed to ultimately  replace the Mig 21 fleet of IAF. The timing of IOC- II for LCA coincides with the iconic Mig 21 FL fighter flying into  IAF’s history just a week ago.

Visibly happy at today’s event, Shri Antony said, during the last three years, the capabilities of the aircraft have been improved significantly.  “In recognition of the enhanced capabilities, IAF has decided to grant the aircraft a higher status, namely, the Initial Operational Clearance for induction into the Service”, he said.

Antony candidly confessed that he had his share of anxieties regarding the future of LCA when he had taken over as the Defence Minister in 2006 but today we are putting behind the moments of self –doubt, frustrations and setbacks which we as a nation have gone through in the last 30 years.

“The improvements to the aircraft have enhanced the flight envelope of the aircraft and also weapon delivery capability of the aircraft.  The performance at Iron Fist, Jaisalmer and the recent missile firing at Goa are examples of such improvements.  The reliability of the aircraft and serviceability has also been enhanced.  The number of flights nearing 500 within this year provides an indication of this. Operating at  IAF bases namely, Jamnagar, Jaisalmer, Uttarlai, Gwaliar, Goa, Leh, Pathankot demonstrate the aircraft capability to operate from Air Force bases. There have also been occasions when the same aircraft has flown thrice on the same day, indicating the operational reliability of this home-bred fighter aircraft ”, he said.

Antony said military aviation in the country has got a major boost with the approval of several new programmes. Some of these programmes include – Mk2 variants of Navy and Air Force; Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft; Unmanned Air Systems; Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft and Medium Transport Aircraft, to name a few.

Describing the attainment of Initial Operational Clearance as an important milestone in the long journey towards indigenization through self-reliance, Shri Antony said, our public and private sector must work in tandem to develop and produce world-class military systems of the highest quality.

The Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne said it is indeed a proud day for the nation and particularly for the IAF; since the grant of IOC acknowledges the capabilities of this aircraft and paves the way for the induction of LCA Mk 1 into operational service. He said the progress of such a challenging experimental project without any accident or major incident is unprecedented in the history of aviation.

On a personal note, ACM Browne said as he prepares to hang his uniform at the end of this month, he would have gone home as a disappointed person if the IOC of the LCA had not been achieved.

Today’s event was attended among others by the Scientific Advisor to RM Shri Avinash Chander, Secretary Defence Production Shri GC Pati, Chairman of HAL Shri RK Tyagi, Programme Director of ADA Shri PS Subramanyam, DG- Aero and CE CEMILAC Dr K Tamil Mani.

Posted by Imphal Dispatch on 22:13. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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