India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been given the permission by the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) for manufacturing Tejas Mk1.
The aircraft is a weaponised version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The company is expected to deliver the first Tejas Mk1 by the end of the year, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported citing an unidentified HAL spokesperson.
CEMILAC is a laboratory of the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) set up to certify and qualify military aircraft and airborne systems.
The Tejas multi-role aircraft is part of the country’s LCA programme and is designed to replace the ageing MiG-21 fighters.
It is a single-seat, single-jet engine fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) with HAL as the principal partner.
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The approval will allow HAL to commence manufacturing of Tejas Mk1 under final operational clearance (FOC) configuration.
The HAL spokesperson was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The actual final operational clearance, however, will take place only after extensive tests and trial.”
He added that the aircraft must demonstrate battle-time capabilities of mid-air refuelling, AESA radar, electronic warfare suites, a variety of bombs and weapons for obtaining the FOC.
According to the spokesperson, HAL has received an order from the IAF for the delivery of 40 LCA aircraft, including 20 FOC-configured aircraft and 20 IOC-configured versions.
So far, the IAF has inducted around ten to 11 IOC-configured Tejas.
In November, Indian news agency IANS reported HAL is establishing a new facility at Nashik in the state of Maharashtra to double the production of the aircraft.