Bengaluru, Jan 17: The Indian Air Force (IAF) was officially handed over the first of the indigenously built Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), 32 years after the project was sanctioned. [Exclusive: Super-charged Agni-5 farewell awaits DRDO chief]
The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) handed over the Tejas Series Production-1 (LCA-SP1) to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha at a quiet ceremony held here on Saturday.
The aircraft will be put into use by the IAF. This will mark the beginning of the process of inducting fighter jets being built at home under a project worth over Rs 17,000 crore.
The IOC-I was granted to the aircraft, being made by the HAL, in January 2011. The Final Operational Clearance is expected by the end of this year.
The first IOC was granted after the aircraft successfully finished its first flight on September 30 last year. Twenty aircraft are expected to be built by 2017-18 to make the first squadron.
The LCA programme was initiated in 1983 to replace the ageing MiG-21 in the IAF's combat fleet but missed several deadlines owing to various reasons.