Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) expects to deliver all Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) variant to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2022 while the LCA Tejas MK1A, with specific enhancements, will take flight by the middle of this year, said R. Madhavan, Chief Managing Director, HAL.
“We will be attempting at least 6-8 aircraft (LCA) this year. All 10 aircraft are already ready, there are some systems to be delivered from Israel. If that happens in time, we can deliver all 10,” Mr. Madhavan told The Hindu talking of the hectic calendar HAL has for this year. “By June this year, we should start flying the LCA MK-1A configuration. Once flying starts, we have about 20 to 24 months of testing. Once that is done, we will be ready for deliveries as expected.”
Last February the Defence Ministry had signed a ₹48,000 crore deal with HAL to supply 83 LCA MK-1A to the IAF. HAL will be delivering the first three aircraft in 2024 and 16 aircraft per year for the subsequent five years, the Defence Ministry had stated earlier.
We will start manufacturing activities parallel with the testing, Mr. Madhavan said on the LCA MK-1A schedule. With COVID-19 cases surging again, there could be some delay if the work schedule is disrupted.