HAL, DRDO test first LCA built for IAF

State-owned HAL and DRDO on Tuesday carried out the maiden sortie of the first LCA Tejas aircraft produced for the Indian Air Force by them in Bengaluru.

New Delhi: State-owned HAL and DRDO on Tuesday carried out the maiden sortie of the first LCA Tejas aircraft produced for the Indian Air Force by them in Bengaluru.

The aircraft named 'Series Production 1' would now undergo a series of trials under the Acceptance Performance Tests before it is handed over to the IAF, DRDO officials said here.

IAF plans to have four such aircraft in its Bangalore-based Tejas squadron before it starts evaluating them and approves it for final operational clearance, they said.

The IAF has ordered 40 LCA Mk 1 aircraft and is likely to induct five more squadrons of an advanced version of the aircraft being developed by the DRDO and HAL.

The aircraft had received initial operational clearance last year and has to get the FOC in next few months before it starts operational flying.

The aircraft was being manufactured by HAL in partnership with the DRDO over the past several years, and the programme has been long-delayed and has seen several cost and time over-runs.

HAL has so far built seven LCA aircraft for trial purposes, which have been used to determine the final configuration of the plane to be given to the IAF.

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