The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed further delays in the country’s programme to produce the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The MoD said in a statement on 4 August that state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has delivered just four aircraft to the IAF out of 40 ordered in 2005. All these aircraft were previously scheduled to be delivered to the IAF by 2017–18.
The four aircraft so far delivered are from a batch of 20 designated for initial operational clearance (IOC), while the remaining 20 aircraft were designated for final operational clearance (FOC).
The MoD said that 12 remaining aircraft under the IOC batch are at the production stage and four more aircraft, which will be used as trainers, will be produced following necessary approvals by the MoD’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
It added that production of the 20 FOC aircraft will also depend on clearance by the ADA, which has led the Tejas development programme for the past three decades.
The MoD said that HAL has undertaken a raft of initiatives to increase the production rate of the Tejas LCA.
These include, it said, HAL obtaining authorisation in March 2017 from the government to ramp-up production capacity from eight to 16 aircraft per year, and the establishment of a second manufacturing line to support “structural and equipping activities”.
HAL has also increased the number of jigs involved in manufacturing the aircraft’s front fuselage, centre fuselage, rear fuselage and wings, and reduced the manufacturing cycle time by improving supply chain management and boosting workforce.