The Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to induct the indigenously developed light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas into its operational service in Bangalore, later this month.
Recently, the combat aircraft succeeded in launching an infrared seeking air-to-air missile, which hit the target in a direct hit with precision and destroyed the target.
On 20 December, the Initial Operational Clearance- II will be completed for the aircraft at its home base in Bangalore and later it will be inducted into the IAF by Defence Minister AK Antony, according to defence officials.
The Tejas aircraft will be the LCA Mark 1 and 40 of them will be inducted by the IAF, while DRDO and HAL will continue to make improvements for the aircraft and capable version will be inducted later into the force, said sources.
The IAF will have a total of seven squadrons of LCA aircraft, which come to around 140 aircraft, if everything moves ahead to the current plans, reports Brahmand.
The aircraft project, which is completing exactly 30 years after it was launched at an approximate overall cost of about Rs25,000bn ($409bn), was sanctioned in 1983 at a cost of Rs560bn ($9.18bn).
The aircraft will undergo different tests, even after its induction into the IAF and to get ready for full operational deployment, the aircraft need to attain the Final Operational Clearance (FOC).
DRDO said the missile firing test, which was conducted off the coast of Goa in Arabian Sea, demonstrated the required parametres.
DRDO chief Avinash Chander was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying that "through this missile launch from Tejas and successfully hitting the target in the first shot, we have demonstrated the total weapon system capability of LCA Tejas."
The LCA, which has been undergoing weapon release flight tests for its operational clearance, eliminated an aerial target towed by the pilotless target aircraft Lakshya using its infrared seeker air-to-air missile.