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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG

An official from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has confirmed that the first flight of the second Tejas Final Operational Clearance (FOC) block—SP-22 was successfully carried out on 24-September of this month after resumption of flight activities that were halted for a while after completion of the first FOC SP-21 back in March this year. -SP-22 was piloted by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chief Test Flying (Fixed Wing) KA Muthana (retired) for approx 43 minutes.

A six-month lull due to pandemic and shutdown of the supply chain was used to get all FOC and IOC-II jets updated with software to meet the operational requirements of the Indian Air Force (IAF). SP-23 has completed low- and high-speed taxi trials and will be ready for its first flight test by end of this month.

HAL plans to complete the first flights of SP-24, SP-25, SP-26 by March 2021. IAF will induct 20 Tejas FOC jets with a break-up of 16 fighters and 4 twin-seater trainers. IAF already has 16 Tejas in its 45 Squadron (Flying Daggers) at Sulur Air Force Station in Tamil Nadu. first Trainer aircraft will start coming before the end of 2021.

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