Final operational clearance for LCA Tejas next year: Antony
Defence Minister A.K. Antony has expressed optimism that the country’s indigenously developed fighter aircraft—LCA Tejas—will get final operational clearance (FOC) of the Indian Air Force (IAF) by the end of next year. Speaking at the annual awards functions of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in New Delhi, he said, all stakeholders including the DRDO, IAF and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) must put their energy together in a focused manner to achieve this objective.
Referring to the expansions of domestic defence industry, Antony said this has to be achieved through public and private sector initiatives. He said there is ample scope for joint ventures also. “All the stakeholders in the defence sector—DRDO, armed forces and the industry—must work in tandem and develop trust and confidence in each other’s capabilities.”
The Minister complimented DRDO for their magnificent achievements in 2012. He referred to the first flight of Agni-V, two successful tests of our ballistic mis- sile defence programme in February and November 2012, first flight of LCA Navy, establishment of a cyberforensics laboratory, initiation of production of NBC systems, transfer of technology (ToT) for composite armour for helicopters and investment casting of aero engine components and said these are just some of the many accomplishments.
He, however, asked the scientists not to be complacent. “The DRDO must keep its focus trained on the areas of core competence and not fritter away its energy and resources. In today’s world of cut-throat competition, the choice is very clear, ‘perform, or perish’. From designing stage to the stage of final production, timelines must be strictly adhered to,” he said.
The function was attended among others by the Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral D.K. Joshi.