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06:10 PM, February 12, 2019
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LCA Tejas (image: tejas.gov.in)

India's Tejas MK-1 Light Combat Aircraft received the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) in December 2018.

"Tejas MK-1 has received the FOC. Out of the total 16 Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) fighter aircraft, 12 jets have joined the IAF till date while the remaining four planes will join the force by March 2019," Defense Minister (State) Subhash Bhamre wrote to Dr R Lakshmanan in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, Zee News reported.

"Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has handed over Drawing Applicability List (DAL) and Equipment Standard of Preparation (SOP) documents, for FOC configuration to HAL on 31st December 2018 duly cleared by Centre of Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) to go ahead with the production of FOC fighter aircraft. Accordingly, HAL has taken up the production of LCA, FOC fighter aircraft," Zee news reported Bhamre as stating.

He adds that the production of eight trainer aircraft (four each in IOC and FOC contracts) would be taken up only after design clearance from ADA. The government has already sanctioned INR 1381.04 Crore ($195 million) in March 2017 to increase the production capacity from the existing 8 aircraft to 16 per year. A second line for structural and equipping activities at the Aircraft Division of HAL.

HAL has already increased the number of jigs for Front Fuselage, Centre Fuselage, Rear Fuselage, Wings and various sub-assemblies and established contracts for outsourcing to private partners while also reducing the manufacturing cycle time through improved supply chain management, learning and augmentation of manpower, the Zee News report stated further.

Tejas MK-1 is being manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and is equipped with mid-air refuelling system, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, an electronic warfare array along with the capability to carry smart bombs to ensure accuracy.

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