LCA Tejas handed over to Indian Air force, IAF Chief clarifies it is a fourth gen aircraft

Bangalore: The much awaited the India’s own Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) ‘Tejas’, was handed over to the IAF by Defence minister, A K Antony. LCA tejas has cleared the Initial Operational Clearance. IAF will now be able to fly the aircraft under its own colors and it will contribute to Final Operational Clearance (FOC). The FOC is expected to be achieved by the end of 2012. IAF intends to deploy the aircraft at one of its bases in Bangalore. This will enable DRDO support for ironing out the “teething problems” associated with induction of a new aircraft. IAF has announced to form first LCA squadrons at its Sulur air base near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.

The day was not without controversy. IAF Chief was misunderstood as saying that it was not a Fourth Generation aircraft. Air Chief Marshal PV Naik later clarified that it was a fourth generation aircraft. He said that some systems and maneuvers have to be finalized leading to the FOC.

IAF plans to induct two squadrons in IOC mode by the middle of 2011. The IAF has already placed the orders for 40 LCAs in March 2005. The first 40 LCAs are powered by the American General Electric GE-F404 engines. The value of these 40 aircraft is estimated around Rs. 7,000 crore.

14 test pilots have flight tested LCA Tejas over the last 10 years. The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)Tejas on 7 Jan 2011, had cleared its last hurdle before attaining the scheduled Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) with the aircraft’s integrated flight control system receiving the necessary documentation from the certifying authorities. The Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness (RCMA) had handed over the certification for the LCA’s integrated flight control system (IFCS). The FCS will enable aircraft perform 8 or 9 G’s maneuvers.

The Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness (RCMA) handed over the certification for the LCA’s integrated flight control system (IFCS) – the pilot-friendly flight controls.

IAF had announced plans for five LCA Tejas squadrons in the coming years. It means some 100 aircraft’s will be producted with more powerful engine.

The IAF plans to ultimately have around 10 LCA Tejas squadrons to replace Russian MiG-21.

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