Expecting another FOC (Final Operational Clearance) deadline in December, HAL has ramped up the production of the LCA Tejas in its 1st and 2nd production line
Production at the LCA Tejas division of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is on a war footing to meet the March 2019 deadline for delivering the remaining 5 Tejas fighters to the Indian Air Force (IAF). Fighters from the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) block including fighters from SP-12 to SP-16 are all on the final equipping phase. While SP-12, SP-14 and SP-16 are with the LCA Tejas Division, SP-13 and SP-15 are with the second production line at the Aircraft Division.
HAL is tasked to deliver the remaining 5 IOC configuration of Mk-1 airframes (SP-12 to SP-16) by March 2019. According to HAL, the SP-13 and SP-15 will be having their maiden flights in December. The SP-12 fighter is ready to undergo a full performance EGR (engine ground run) and the Aircraft Division will hand over SP-13 and SP-15 to the Tejas Division after conducting the HSTT (High-Speed Taxi Trials).
HAL’s LCA Tejas Division has started the preparations for producing FOC variants of Tejas. Although the FOC announcement is expected in December, the division has already begun advanced stages of production of 10 sets of detail parts. The assembly of two sets of air fame has already started for SP-21 and SP-22. The parts for SP-23 and SP-24 will be up by the first week of December. HAL expects the first FOC fighter (SP-21) to fly out by October 2019.