Bangalore: Tejas, India’s indigeneously-designed Light Combat Aircraft, Friday got initial operation clearance (IOC-II).

Defence Minister A.K. Antony handed over release to service document (RTS) to Indian Air Force chief N.A.K Browne.

The certification paves the way for the induction of Tejas into the Indian Air Force.

Speaking at the event, Anthony said: “It is a great day for the whole nation.”

The LCA programme, cleared in August 1983 at a cost of Rs 560 crore to replace the ageing MiG-21s in its combat fleet, has missed several deadlines.

HAL officials said production facilities have been set up at its facility here and it plans to initially produce eight aircraft per year and increase it to 16 aircraft per year in
consultation with IAF and Ministry of Defence.

HAL carried out around 500 sorties of LCA in 2013 and conducted outstation flight trials at Leh, Jamnagar, Jaisalmer, Uttaralai Gwalior, Pathankot and Goa for cold weather, armament and weapon deliveries, MultiMode Radar (MMR), Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), hot weather and missile firing flight trials.

Tejas has also successfully demonstrated weapon delivery capability during weapon trials at Jamnagar and Jaisalmer, HAL officials said.

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