Bengaluru, Feb 17: The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of India's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is on track and it ‘won't skip‘ the December deadline announced by Defence Minister Manohar Parrkiar.
Speaking to OneIndia on the eve of 10th edition of Aero India, P S Subramaniam, ADA Director, said that all the projected schedules in the programme are on the right flightpath.
"Tejas FOC is well on track and we will stick to the December deadline," Subramaniam said. He said at the Aero India 2015, LSP-3 and LSP-4 will take turns and enthral the crowd during the flying display. The first Series Production (SP-1) aircraft and the second naval prototype (NP-2, a fighter) will be on static display.
The project has come a long way
He said all the systems on Tejas have been updated to the contemporary mode. "We have come a long way and I am happy to have fulfilled my missions. The aircraft has undergone so many changes since 2001 and today the pilots say that it's a delight to fly Tejas," Subramaniam, who has been associated with the project for the last 28 years, said.
He said with the FOC, the capabilities of Tejas will be enhanced further. "The integration of an air-to-air refuelling probe, beyond visual range (BVR) missiles, additional low-drag bombs and gun shall be retro-complied on series production aircraft. The delivery of first Squadron of 20 Tejas shall be completed by 2018-19," he said.
Post-Aero India, the weapon trials of Tejas would continue to test some of the mandated mission(s) under FOC.
Manuals getting tweaked
When asked about his reaction to media reports that the SP-1 aircraft was handed over to IAF without any training manuals, the senior scientist said that the documents had to be tweaked further for the squadron pilots.
"So far Tejas was flown by experienced Test Pilots and now with the aircraft being handed over to the IAF pilots, they wanted some changes. The squadron pilots did not want too many technology details in the manuals (both tech and flight) and we are making changes to the same based on the IAF feedback," he said.
Activities completed towards FOC
• Integration of centre-line drop tank
• Gun integration & ground firing
• Integration of conventional & low drag bombs
• Integration of advanced LGB
•Hot & cold weather trials
•All weather certification
• Envelop expansion to higher angles of attack and load factor (g).
Parameters to be completed during FOC phase
• Air-to-air refuelling
• Gun flight trials
• High speed low drag bomb with retarded tail unit
• Integration of supersonic drop tank
• Integration of BVR missile and Advanced Close Combat Missile
• Envelop expansion to higher angles of attack and load factor (g)
Photos: A Veeramani