Military news: LCA Tejas gets FOC, finally!

Pic: FOC ceremony at Aero India 2019, Bengaluru

Pic: My first memory of Tejas: A newspaper reporting after first test flight in 2001.


  • India’s fighter jet Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk1 bagged the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) on Wednesday 20th February. At a simple event at Air Force Station Yelahanka, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Chairman Dr Satheesh Reddy and HAL Chairman R Madhavan handed over the ‘release to service’ documents to Indian Air Force Chief (IAF) Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa.
  • “We are in the process of issuing RFP (request for proposal) for 83 Tejas MK1As (the advance variant) so that the production continues,” the IAF Chief said. He said the IAF is also keenly pursuing the Mark-2 version of Tejas, a completely new variant now being called as the MWF (medium weight fighter).“The Tejas Mk-2 will be over six squadrons that will replace the Jaguars, Mirages and Mig-29s,” he said.
  • Tejas conceptualisation started with seed money in 1983 and the Project Definition Phase report was finalised in 1988. It was decided that first only a technology development (TD) programme would be sanctioned since many of the technologies were non- existent in the country. The TD phase was sanctioned in 1993 and only after the first flight of TD-1 in 2001 (proving the technologies), the LCA programme was sanctioned in 2001. The first Tejas was inducted into the IAF in July 2016.