India’s first Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in full operational capability (FOC) standard (SP-21) has conducted its maiden flight.
The fighter jet took-off from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Airport and flew for 40 minutes.
The aircraft remained airborne under the control of retired air commander KA Muthana.
The maiden flight took place in one year after the release of Drawing Applicability List (DAL) and Standard of Preparation (SOP) by the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC).
The completion of the first FOC aircraft’s first flight allows the production of the remaining 15 FOC block aircraft.
According to the planned schedule, the fighter jets are expected to be delivered during the next financial year.
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The FOC means LCA Tejas now has advanced capabilities such as air-to-air refuelling, beyond visual range (BVR) missile system and more.
It also includes several features that were recommended as per operational feedback of LCA initial operational clearance (IOC) fleet with the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The successful flight voyage is the result of a team effort of various LCA Tejas programme stakeholders.
Some of them include Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA), CEMILAC, IAF and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) among others.
The aircraft first entered service with the IAF in July 2016.
In February this year, the IAF finalised the acquisition of 83 single-engine Tejas Mark-1A light combat aircraft (LCA) fighter jets from HAL. The deal also includes maintenance and support of the aircraft.