Bengaluru, January 17: Thirty–two years after the project was sanctioned, the first indigenously –built Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was on Saturday handed over to the Indian Air Force by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The handover sigls the start of a process of induction of the fighters being built at home under a project which has already cost the exchequer nearly Rs 8,000 crore. The entire project by the DRDO and Hindustan Aeroutics Limited is estimated to cost over Rs.30,000 crore. The aircraft that has been handed over has got Initial Operatiol Clearance–II, which signifies that Tejas is airworthy in different conditions, sources said. The version of the Tejas handed over to the IAF incorporates the latest electronic warfare suite, mid–air refuelling and long–range missile capabilities among other things, which were integrated into one of the LCAs two weeks ago.
IAF gets its first ’Made in India’ fighter aircraft