BENGALURU: Buoyed by the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) issued to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas-Mk1 by Indian Air Force, HAL officials announced that the development of Mk1A and Mk2 has been taken up. Arup Bannerjee, Director, Engineering Research and Development, said Aeronautical Development Agency has taken up the same and Mk1A version of LCA will have its first flight in 2022.
Shortly after the media briefing by HAL officials, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat and scientific advisor to Government of India Prof Vijay Raghavan also flew the aircraft.
“Using our funds, we are developing the newer version of LCA, which will have its first flight by 2022,” Bannerjee said.
Considering the recent financial crisis at HAL, owing to pending receivables from Armed forces to the tune of `9,500 cr, HAL will initially invest in the R&D of the newer version of the fighter jet. “We have no approval from Defence Acquisition Committee for LCA Mk1A yet,” R Madhavan, Chairman and Managing Director of HAL, said.
He said HAL plans to transfer 16 LCAs to Indian Air Force by this year end, adding that manufacturing jigs at HAL will be loaded by September and October this year. “We have an order of 40 LCAs now. While 16 will be transferred on Initial Operational Capability (IOC) configuration, four will be of training configuration,” he said.
He said that HAL has decided to change its business approach. While HAL was waiting for orders from the defence forces or the government to manufacture a product, it will now start developing different products for the domestic and international market, he said.
To a question, Madhavan said that HAL’s current order books were worth `61,000cr, along with a possible demand for 83 LCAs, 180 Light Combat Helicopters and minimum of 10 HTT-40s.