The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on Monday announced that it has successfully completed its target to produce the 16th light combat aircraft (LCA) 'Tejas' to be inducted into the fleet of Indian Air Force (IAF). The state-run public sector company, headquartered in Bengaluru, further added that the customer flights would be completed by the end of this month. The aerospace and defence company received orders from the Indian Air Force (IAF) for 40 LCAs (16 each in Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) and Final Operation Clearance (FOC) configurations and eight trainers).
"We have produced 16th LCA as per the target till March 31. The customer flights are expected to be completed by the end of March," HAL said in a statement.
#DidYouKnow : Some of 'Tejas’ design features are interesting. It is the world’s smallest single-seat, single-engine combat aircraft. It is of tailless, compound delta-wing design.— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) March 25, 2019
The aircraft will be showcasing its super maneuverability at Malaysia. #LIMA2019 pic.twitter.com/ZsWQeqQoUR
The Tejas aircraft was inducted into the IAF squadron Flying Daggers on July 1, 2016, and given the FOC last month, signalling its combat readiness. The FOC involves the addition of key capabilities to the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) aircraft, which in main are Beyond Visual Range Missile capabilities, Air-to-Air Refuelling, Air-to-Ground FOC earmarked weapons and general flight envelope expansion.
HAL said LCA production was started in 2014 and in five years, it reached a current production capacity of eight aircraft per annum. A second production line had been established at the Aircraft Division here which was carrying out structural assembly, final assembly and equipping of the aircraft, it said.
The statement said two LCAs will be flying at the Langkawi International Maritime Aerospace Expo (Lima- 2019) in Malaysia beginning from Tuesday. HAL team will be providing the technical support at the show, the company said.
During the Aero India show in Bengaluru last month, Army chief General Bipin Rawat flew in Tejas and described it as a “wonderful” aircraft. It was during Aero India show Tejas MK-I was given the final operation clearance by the defence ministry.