Tejas – FOC
21, Feb 2019
Prelims level : Defence Mains level :
- More than three-and-half decades after the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) or Tejas was conceived, the programme got a shot in the arm as it was accorded the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) by aviation certifying authorities, raising the hope of the Indian Air Force (IAF) that has been grappling to cope with its ageing fleet.
- The release to service document, known as FOC, was handed over at the ongoing Aero India in Bengaluru. The LCA, that began as an ambitious programme in 1983, had proved that it could not just sustain a very high sortie rate but also carry out accurate weapon delivery of both air-to-air and air-to-ground targets.
- The FOC coming at a time when several defence procurements of successive governments have been held to public scrutiny over alleged scams and kickbacks, especially in the run up to the parliamentary elections, scheduled to be held later this year.
- Procedural delays among other hurdles has had a crippling effect on the Indian armed forces who are forced to continue using outdated technology, weapons and systems despite the consistently swelling defence budget.
- The IAF’s interests in acquiring more Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) developed products raising the hope for the cash strapped public sector unit, whose fortunes and order books have slimmed down in recent years.