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10:28 AM, July 11, 2018
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Tejas Light Combat Aircraft

The Indian Air Force is likely to depute an officer of air marshal rank to head Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas programme.

The head of LCA division is currently an officer at the executive director level and programme director of ADA, an H-level scientist, may then report to the IAF official who will be given command, if the plans take off smoothly, manorama online reported quoting unnamed officials as saying Wednesday.

According to the report, the decision is likely to be made official by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) soon aimed at ending the blame game over project delays by both HAL and ADA.

Ramping up Tejas production will be based on a special purpose vehicle (SPV) model or a strategic business unit (SBU) model. “The government wants to bring HAL and ADA together. IAF needs Tejas in large numbers and the only way to achieve this is through a fresh look to overcome delays. The balance of convenience in this case will have to rest with the IAF,” the report quoted an unnamed official as saying.

“The structural gap between HAL and ADA, a prime cause of Tejas delays, has to be bridged and we feel IAF can do it,” the source said.

“The FOC deadlines have slipped many times, and it is unlikely that ADA will tick off the pending points even by December 2018. HAL had promised the defence minister that it would deliver 16 aircraft this year (2018-19). The IAF will now get to infuse new ideas to ramp up the production,” the official added.

If HAL sticks to the promise, it will have to deliver seven fighters (SP-10 to SP-16) from the initial operation clearance (IOC) block and nine from the FOC block (SP-21to SP-29).

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