HAL's Light Combat Aircraft project to hand over to the Indian Air Force (IAF)

In a bid to prevent time and cost overruns on the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project, the government has decided to hand over Bengaluru division of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to the Indian Air Force.

The next phase of the LCA project, development of the MK2 variant and the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) has started to take shape.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a state owned company is tasked with manufacturing and assemble a range of aircraft and helicopters. HAL is facing criticism for lack of professionalism in project execution and time & cost overruns.

The IAF constituted the first LCA squadron with just two aircraft in 2016 and development of Tejas and the Tejas-Mk 1A with specific enhancements has been delayed.


What is Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project ?

Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project was started in 1983, it's very first aircraft flight came in the year 2001. So far HAL and IAF has signed two contracts:

1) Signed on March 31, 2006, for providing 20 aircraft in the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration by December 2011.
2) Signed on December 23, 2010, for providing 20 aircraft in the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configuration by 2016.

Another order of 83 jets in the Mk 1A configuration is aso in process from Indian Air Force.

In a separate move three institutions: 1) Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), 2) Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and 3) Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), currently under the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) can be brought under the direct control of IAF.

Three Mirage squadrons, three Mig-29 squadrons and six Jaguar squadrons are to be replaced by squadrons of the LCA-Mk2, the target is to have the first squadron ready by 2028.


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