India's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has received the final operational clearance (FOC) from military aviation regulator Cemilac for induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a weaponised fighter jet, said an official in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
The Chief Executive of Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (Cemilac), P Jayapal, handed over the FOC certificate and release-to-service documents to Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal B S Dhanoa at the Aero India air show.
"It is a major milestone for the LCA to get the final operational clearance. The aircraft could fly in many sorties and has demonstrated the precision with which it can deliver weapons," Dhanoa told the media in the presence of Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar.
The aircraft performed air-to-ground attacks and air-to-air refuelling at IAF's Vayu Shakti air display at Pokhran in Rajasthan on February 16, the Air Chief said.
State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Chairman and Managing Director R. Madhavan said HAL had responded to the request for proposal (RFP) floated by the IAF for 83 LCA Mk-1.
"The grant of final operational clearance to the aircraft is a landmark moment for aeronautic scientists, industry and businesses," state-run Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) Chairman and Defence R&D Secretary G. Satheesh Reddy told the media.
The FOC involves addition of capabilities to the initial operational clearance (IOC) aircraft which are beyond visual range missile capabilities.
The regulator's document provides capabilities, features and technologies that FOC standard aircraft will have on induction into the IAF.
The FOC standard aircraft drawings have been handed over to HAL to start production after incorporating changes over the IOC.
The regulator gave IOC to the combat aircraft in 2013 and inducted it into the IAF 45 Squadron in July 2016.
"The 45 Squadron has since flown over 500 sorties during the trials without a hitch," the document said.