Fi­nal op­er­a­tional clear­ance for LCA Te­jas next year: Antony

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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.

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