India's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has received final operational clearance from military aviation regulator Cemilac for induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a weaponised fighter jet, said an official here on Wednesday.
The Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (Cemilac) Chief Executive P. Jayapal handed over the "release-to-service" documents to the Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa at the Aero India air show here.
"It is a major milestone for LCA to get the final operational clearance. The aircraft could fly in many sorties and demonstrated the precision with which it can deliver weapons," Dhanoa told the media.
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 IAF chief said.
State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Chairman and Managing Director R. Madhavan said HAL has responded to the request for proposal (RFP) floated by the IAF for 83 LCA Mk-1 with weaponisation.
"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 G. Satheesh Reddy told the media.
Locheed Martin offers India a new F-21 combat jet to be made locally
Eyeing an Indian order, US aerospace major Lockheed Martin on Wednesday showcased its F-21 multirole fighter that it says is configured for the IAF.
"Our F-21 addresses the IAF's requirements and integrates India into the world's fighter aircraft ecosystem," a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told IANS on the margins of the Aero India expo at the Yelahanka air base.
The spokesperson, however, clarified that India was yet to float a request for information or proposal for the new aircraft.
"The F-21 is different, inside and out. It highlights our commitment to deliver an advanced, scalable fighter for IAF," Lockheed Martin's Vice President for business and strategy development Vivek Lall said in a statement.
If Lockheed Martin gets the order, it says it will make the fighter in India with Tata Advanced Systems of the Tata Group.
A whole new beast.— Lockheed Martin India (@LMIndiaNews) February 20, 2019
The #F21 features numerous changes – inside and out – specifically designed to meet the @IAF_MCC’s unique requirements and deliver advanced capabilities to the warfighter. #ForIndiaFromIndia #MakeInIndia #AeroIndia2019 Know more: https://t.co/p2pQB4FKe2 pic.twitter.com/PJO26KfO8E