Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, while speaking to local Indian media has confirmed that first flight of updated LCA-Tejas Mk-1A will happen before 2020 and the new variant will address obsolescence issues, improve maintainability of the aircraft and will come with additional capabilities such as Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) capability, Electronic Warfare (EW) suite and advanced avionics.

While speaking on Final Operational Clearance (FOC) for LCA-Tejas Mk-1, Chief said FOC is likely to be achieved sometime in 2019, which is further way off from June-July 2018 what was initially claimed by both HAL and ADA in the media.

Dhanoa also confirmed that Second NETRA AEW&CS system in Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configuration will be delivered to Indian Air Force by DRDO by end of this year and procurement case for two additional IL-76 based AWACS is presently with the MoD and with CFA for the approval.

Dhanoa went on to also confirm that Six vendors have responded to IAF’s Request for Information (RFI) sent out on April 6, 2018 and IAF intends to induct 15 per cent of the aircraft in a direct fly away condition which would facilitate a relatively faster induction till the time production is commenced by the Strategic Partner.


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