A larger aircraft TEJAS MK-II to roll out by year end or early 2023, says HAL MD

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) expects to deliver all Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) variant to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2022 while the TEJAS MK-1A, with specific enhancements, will take flight by middle of this year, said R. Madhavan, Chief Managing Director, HAL.

“We will be attempting at least 6-8 aircraft (LCA) this year. All 10 aircraft are already ready, there are some systems to be delivered from Israel. If that happens in time, we can deliver all 10,” Mr. Madhavan said talking of the hectic calendar HAL has for this year. “By June this year we should start flying the TEJAS MK-1A configuration. Once flying starts, we have about 20 to 24 months of testing. Once that is done, we will be ready for deliveries as expected.”

Last February the Defence Ministry had signed a ₹48,000 crore deal with HAL to supply 83 TEJAS MK-1A to the IAF. HAL will be delivering the first three aircraft in 2024 and 16 aircraft per year for subsequent five years, the Defence Ministry had stated earlier.

We will start manufacturing activities parallel with the testing, Mr. Madhavan said on TEJAS MK-1A schedule. With COVID-19 cases surging again, there could be some delay if the work schedule is disrupted.

To ramp up production, HAL has already set up two additional assembly lines. Stating that all three LCA assembly lines are operational now, Mr. Madhavan said the back end of the lines is what they are finishing now including supply of sub-assemblies by vendors.