The first Light Combat Aircraft Tejas in Final Operational Clearance-standard (SP-21) took to the skies for its maiden flight in Bengaluru on Tuesday, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited said. Piloted by Air Cmde. K A Muthana (Retd), Chief Test Flying (Fixed Wing), the aircraft took-off from HAL Airport at around 1230 hours, the Bengaluru-headquartered defence PSU said in a statement.
It was airborne for 40 minutes. This flight signifies exemplary team work between various stakeholders of the LCA Tejas programme such as HAL, Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification, Indian Air Force and Aeronautical Development Agency, HAL CMD, R Madhavan said.
"HAL achieved the momentous feat within a record time of 12 months after release of Drawing Applicability List (DAL) and SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) by CEMILAC", the statement said.
"This would pave the way for production of remaining 15 fighters from FOC (Final Operational Clearance) block, which are planned to be delivered during the next financial year", it said.
The FOC aircraft are equipped with advanced features such as Air-to-Air refueling and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile system.
"It imbibes a lot of manufacturing improvements which were based on the operational feedback of LCA IOC (Initial Operational Clearance) fleet with IAF", HAL said.