Tejas clears first hurdle but long way to go
- CBI sought part RTI exemption, Govt gave it full
- Screen Awards: Milkha, Ram-Leela and Madras Cafe dominate
- DGCA seeks fresh public objections after clearing AirAsia for take-off
- Delhi: 51-year-old Danish national alleges gangrape, 15 detained for questioning
- I wonder if I will be able to ever reunite with my husband, my kids. I miss them: Devyani
More than a decade after its first flight in 2001, the indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas was Friday granted initial operational clearance (IOC) to join the air force. The clearance, an important milestone in the development of a combat aircraft, is, however, not an indication of its combat readiness and engineers and developers will strive over the next one year to bring it up to the military standard demanded by the Air Force.
The IOC, marked by the handing over of the official document and service manual of the fighter by Defence Minister A K Antony to Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, indicates that the aircraft has met basic flight parameters of the air force and is being cleared for mass production. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will produce eight aircraft a year and accelerate this to 16 in consultation with the air force. The first fighters will be inducted into the 45 Squadron that will be raised at the Sulur air base near Coimbatore.
The exact number of aircraft that will finally enter service, however, remains a contentious issue with Antony saying 200 fighters would be inducted while the Air Chief sticking to the IAF plan of six squadrons (120 aircraft).
The immediate challenge for the fighter programme is the final operational clearance (FOC) that is needed for it to be used for combat, with several critical systems still to be integrated. The deadline for the FOC is December 2014. Over Rs 7,000 crore has already been spent on development of the fighter.
Antony called the IOC a semi-final that HAL has won and said socks needed to be pulled up to ensure the final test — the FOC — is cleared by next year.
Designers and testers will have to work hard to meet this deadline given the volume of work left to make the Aircraft combat-worthy. Top on the list is full weapons integration. While the fighter fired an air-to-air missile earlier this month, its air combat suite is far from ready. To be integrated are beyond-visual-range missiles, the integral gun as well as a modern close-combat missile. The air-to-ground component of the weapons suite is ready and was demonstrated with live visuals from the aircraft during the IOC ceremony in Bangalore.
- AAP names Bharti victims, uploads eight videos targeting Africans in Delhi
- Kapil Sibal to contest from Chandni Chowk in 2014, even if Arvind Kejriwal inÂ fray
- Arvind Kejriwal likely to pass Jan Lokpal Bill in February, says the fight for new independence hasÂ begun
- Movie review: â€˜Jai hoâ€™ | The Indian Express