January 17, 2015

Parrikar likely to hand over LCA Tejas to Indian Air Force today

The first of the indigenously-built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is likely to be handed over to the Indian Air Force on Saturday.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who will visit the HAL headquarters here today, is expected to hand over the aircraft to Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.
The LCA is being handed over to the air force after initial operational clearance-II, which signifies that the Tejas is airworthy in different conditions. This will start the process of induction of fighters being built at home under a project that was commenced in 1983 and has already cost the exchequer over Rs.17,000 crores.
The Initial Operational Clearance-I was granted to the aircraft being built by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in January 2011. The Final Operational Clearance is expected by the year-end.
According to sources, 20 aircraft will be built by 2017-2018, to make the first squadron of the aircraft.
The LCA programme was initiated in 1983 to replace the ageing MiG-21s in Indian Air force's combat fleet but has missed several deadlines due to several reasons.

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