Bengaluru, September 17: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will fly in the indigenously-built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas on September 19. The aircraft will take-off from Air force Station in Bengaluru. During the Aero India, which was held in Bengaluru in February this year, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bipin Rawat also took a sortie in LCA Tejas. After the sortie, Gen Rawat described the fighter jet as a "wonderful aircraft" that would add to the airpower. The Army Chief sat behind a pilot in a two-seater trainer variant of the Tejas. IAF Chief BS Dhanoa, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman Fly Sortie in MiG-21 Fighter Aircraft; Watch Video.
During the show, ace shuttler PV Sindh also flew in the indigenously-built aircraft. Earlier this month, reports also surfaced that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is expected to place orders worth around Rs 45,000 crore with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to acquire 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighters.
The tender was issued by the IAF to procure 83 LCA Tejas Mark 1A almost two years ago. However, the project was stuck over the pricing issue as the government and the Air Force felt that the price offered by the HAL was slightly higher. An IAF source told news agency ANI, “The cost committee of the Defence Ministry has determined the cost of the 83 LCA Mark 1A aircraft around Rs 45,000 crore and the Indian Air Force is now expected to place orders for these planes in the next few weeks.” LCA Tejas Mark II to be Unveiled in 2022 on 75th Independence Day: Reports.
The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) and Release to Service Document (RSD) were also handed over to the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on the opening day of Aero India 2019. FOC involves the addition of key capabilities to the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) aircraft which are Beyond Visual Range Missile capabilities.
The first LCA Mark 1A aircraft is likely to be produced by 2023 once the HAL is done with the supply of the initial 40 planes in the Initial Operational Clearance and Final Operational Clearance standards. LCA Tejas Mark 1A is the advanced version of Tejas aircraft. The HAL has so far supplied 16 LCAs to the service which has based them at Sulur in Tamil Nadu under 45 Squadron.
(With inputs from ANI)