New Delhi: India`s ambitious project to
develop indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) has suffered a
setback as the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) for the
aircraft was delayed by another year.
"As far as LCA is concerned, there was an initial IOC in
January this year. We were supposed to get the IOC (final) by
the end of this year. As we see it, there is a delay of almost
an year in that," IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne
told a press conference here.
The delay in IOC is expected to further affect the Final
Operational Clearance (FOC) of the aircraft, which was
expected by 2012.
Sources said the delay in IOC has taken place as the
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has not
been able to complete certain trials of the aircraft.
The extended monsoon this year also affected the trial
schedule of the aircraft, they said.
Replying to a question on upgradation of the fleet of
Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft, Browne said the case is being
studied by the Finance Ministry and a final nod by the
government is expected by the end of this month.
"We have finished the negotiations for the MICA missile
for the aircraft and the case is now with the Finance
Ministry. If not this month, it should get cleared next month
at least," he said.