Sunday, 16 January, 2022
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Behind final clearance for Tejas, 10 concessions given to fighter jet

Final operational clearance to Tejas was granted even though the jet's drop tank & other weapon configurations are yet to be cleared while airframe fatigue test is still underway.

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New Delhi: The indigenously-built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas, received around 10 concessions, which enabled it to get the final operational clearance (FOC) last month, ThePrint has learnt.

The FOC was granted during the Aero India Show at Bengaluru in February, allowing the aircraft to be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF). Production, however, has already been delayed by seven years.

Highly-placed sources in the defence establishment told ThePrint that the drop tank (external fuel tanks) and other weapon configurations in the aircraft are yet to be cleared while the airframe fatigue test is still underway.

These are some of the 10 concessions granted to Tejas with regard to the FOC.

The number of concessions is significant as the much-delayed fighter jet is being inducted into the IAF to boost its depleting squadron strength. They are set to replace the ageing MiG-21 fleet.

In military industry parlance, concessions are those requirements that could be included at a later stage, in the final make of the aircraft, when feasible.

An officer involved in the Tejas programme, on condition of anonymity, however, said these concessions do not comprise structural changes to the aircraft. But the officer did say that “the airframe fatigue test is in progress and will take some time”.

The airframe fatigue test is a crucial test to determine the strength of an aircraft. It entails hanging a fully-loaded aircraft for a certain number of hours.

HAL spokesperson Gopal Sutar told ThePrint that given the complex eco-system of defence manufacturing, concessions are a norm in the aerospace industry.

“HAL manufactures products based on mutually approved terms with its customers,” Sutar said. “In case of LCA Tejas, multiple partners are involved in its design and production and hence we cannot comment on concessions that may not imply to us directly at this stage.”

Also read: Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat flies in LCA Tejas, calls it ‘experience of a lifetime’

A project of concessions and waivers

When the LCA Tejas had got the initial operational clearance (IOC) in December 2013, the number of concessions was around 32, sources said.

In July 2018, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found “53 significant shortfalls” in the Mark-I version of the Tejas (weaponised version), which “had reduced its operational capabilities and survivability”.

Among these concessions, the CAG had pointed out the lack of a trainer model of the aircraft which would adversely impact pilot training, and said that the LCA Mark- I fails to meet the electronic warfare capabilities as the self-protection Jammer could not be fitted on the aircraft due to space constraints and about the poor percentage of indigenous content in the aircraft.

The LCA Tejas project has also been given as many as 22 waivers from 1985 when the IAF’s air staff requirement for the aircraft was put out. Unlike concessions, waivers are requirements that have been permanently waived.

Project has led to HAL sparring with IAF

The IAF and the HAL have been at loggerheads over the LCA project, with the aircraft manufacturer claiming that a reason for the delay in the project is because of periodic requests for upgrades from the IAF.

Last year, the Minister of State in Ministry of Defence Dr Subhash Bhamre had told Parliament that the FOC was initially planned by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) for December 2012 but that could not be achieved.

The delays in attaining the FOC was attributed to a delay in the finalisation of air-to-air refuelling contract, challenges faced in the integration of air-to-air refuelling probe and associated major hardware (structural modification) and software (flight control software) modification and flight testing among others.

The advanced features of the FOC aircraft include beyond visual range missile capabilities, air-to-air refuelling, air-to-ground FOC earmarked advanced weapons and delivery system, an official statement had stated.

The grant of the FOC was hailed as a milestone for the LCA Tejas. Till date, out of 16 IOC fighter aircraft, 10 fighters have been delivered by HAL and are operational with IAF’s 45 Squadron.

The IAF is looking at inducting 12 squadrons of the LCA, including Tejas Mark IA and Mark II.

Around 20 of these aircraft are to be in the FOC configuration and 83 of the Mark 1A make. The IAF, however, is still to order the 83 aircraft.

Also read: HAL set for talks with European firm to arm Tejas with air-to-air missile


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  1. Well now Tejas mk 1 is ready and 1A will be there on time…we can expect these kind of propoganda to downgrade Tejas . Air to Air refueling was validated a long time ago. So if you can’t confirm this news 100% with proofs then please don’t publish such articles on the basis of an information you have got when you were daydreaming……

  2. The article could be considered unbiased had it also discussed en number of times basic requirements what changed by the MoD. Similarly, the author should have given comparison with development of modern combat aircraft globally by the giants including those who have been competing 2 take a lion’s share in the giant arms market stupidly offered by our successive governments during the past 7 decades!

    Is the author aware how many concessions for granted to F35, the highly glamorous combat aircraft?

    Such concessions have been quite normal during the development phase of highly complex defence systems including combat aircraft and granted by governments of those countries on merit basis so that their own industry can survive and progess!

    Unfair criticism and condemnation of indigenous live developed weapon systems and platforms like Tejas-LCA is not new!

    The global arms lobbyists and our own Importeomaniac Defence Procurement Tsars work overtime in ensuring DELAYS and Obstacles in indigenous developments, followed by Nefarious Condemnations so that imports may continue unabated and Junk and Outdated defence systems like F16 and F18 of 1970s vintage be dumped in Bharat’s Giant Armed Bazaar! The price is paid by the Indian taxpayer with their hard and money and by our soldiers with their blood!
    Gainers are the lobbyists and the Importeomaniac Defence Procurement Tsars!
    A glaring example is that of the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft MMRCA that was approved for procurement with whooping cost in 2001 against emergency requirements of the Indian Air Force. The Importeomaniac Defence Procurement Tsars FAILED the nation and the IAF with inability to procure and make the combat aircraft available. WAS INABILITY TO SETTLE THE BRIBE AND CUTS WAS THE REAL REASON?

    • “The global arms lobbyists and our own Importeomaniac Defence Procurement Tsars work overtime in ensuring DELAYS and Obstacles ….”. You just nailed it. Being an engineer I can correlate to it. When budget is constant, repeated adhoc new requirements (from IAF) ensure delayed timeline. Hopefully modi government will mediate ever increasing (unfair ) requirments of IAF to some extent. We have a great opportunity of domestic aircraft manufacturing industry which we should not missed.

  3. Day by day technology advances. What was yesterday’s latest becomes today’s old. It is open secret when you take up a job for examining by trials , the Concerned officers attain super annuation and new incumbant has his own say. Again whole are revised. This is perpetually running and the project delays with so much of modifications from the original specification This sort of delay is common in government projects. That is why it is emphasized the with the completion of initial specification, the work of execution shall be entrusted to the executor and the govt agents job should be limited to supervision, without suggesting modifications.

  4. Count is incorrect, according to latest announcement in Aero India 19, 16 IOC fighters have already been delivered to IAF.

  5. TAJAS must go on, few have been inducted, more will be inducted with improvisation. Yes, other multi role fighters are desperately needed. Political compulsion should not frustrate the cause of National security. Every nation with size of India and neighbor like China and Pakistan should be able to to use it’s own resources.

  6. So, you recommend buying from outside the country, with offset partners of your choice…. or better still sell lock stock and barrel the HALL?

  7. After reading whole artical i only say ur artical is a shit. The truth is u dont know the aerospace indusrty and DCQA requirments . Even rafale was given wavier in MMRCA1. As i guess by ur mame u r a indian u dont have proud to be an indian. I proud Tejas have accident free development cycle which cost its time.I only imagin if LCA met with accident u starts crying like pilot is ur only bread earner and gov. must close the project before ur other family member goes to dies in tejas. even pakistani defence experts praise tejas for its quality what type of human on earth ur.

  8. HAL must be privatised with either L&T or with Bharat Forge, both are having financial muscle to encounter the problems. HAL employees are worried about their salaries . Such people can not produce !!!

    • Dont generalise. there are many govt public sector, who work more and better than private sector. Its not the old age, where nobody works etc etc…….

      dont we know how the great big companies of the west / India also does not care for the public. these products are not something money alone can buy.

  9. as far as defence is concerned,no concessions to be given as it will affect the nation’s security and cost the lives of our pilots.India is struggling for last 35 years to build an indigenous aircraft so far not successful.It is not only the HAL to be blamed for as it is just a manufacturing company.HAL along with DRDO and its research labs ADA,ADE,GTRE should sit together and revamp their strategy.They should hire some retired hands of Indian origin from companies like lick heed matting,snecma,Rolls Royce etc so that they acquire the sufficient expertise.Another method is to involve pvt sector companies like Tata ,Mahindra and L&T for achieving the target.If Kaveri engine project was given to Pvt sector,they should have do e it in 5 years.Public sector has its own limitations affecting its speed and pace. it is to be noted that Dassault which makes Rafael a nd Lockheed Martin which makes F-16 are private sector companies.India need to go beyond DRDO for its defence needs

    • Don’t talk too much about private companies. Lockheed, Boeing etc….. also take 20-30-40 years to deveopl new aircraft- private companies. there is no short cut to making prototypes and testing. It gives more knowlegde than buying the technology. Public sector is chanined with many restrictions- socialistic approach and I support it. otherwise there will be only only 1 or 2 for the whole country like reliance company, which will pierce your eye with your own finger.

      We should have a mix of Gov and Private industry.

  10. “We plan to deliver 16 LCAs to the IAF in the FOC configuration by this year-end and remaining four next year,” is what HAL Chairman R. Madhavan said at the Aero India air show. I think 10 aircraft is a more realistic number, as they’re also tasked with producing four trainer aircraft in the FOC configuration. After all, there is the precedent of HAL over-promising and NOT delivering.

  11. HAL is administered by the Ministry of Defence. So, any failure at HAL reflects directly on poor administrative control by the MoD. Is making excuses and giving new deadlines (after slippages) the only job of the HAL Chairman. Does this position not entail any responsibility?
    Don’t forget that a HAL upgraded Mirage 2000 trainer aircraft crashed on its test flight killing both IAF pilots – Squadron Leaders Siddhartha Negi and Samir Abrol. Blackbox data indicates technical malfunction – that is, the crash was not due to pilots’ error.

  12. Please don’t read these article’s by the media, which always gives wrong signals. HAL is a fantastic organization. Media gets more points by sensationalising such issues. Don’t fall for such news. You will know after 5 or 6 years what is the capability of LCA TEJAS and HAL.

  13. Looks like the Tejas LCA story will be akin to the INSAS assault rifle and light machine gun (LMG) manufactured by the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB).
    All users have vouched that the INSAS assault rifle and LMG were absolutely useless glitch-prone, products. Now, the Modi govt. has decided to equip the Army’s frontline infantry soldiers with US made Sig Sauer SIG716 assault rifles. 72,400 rifles will be acquired under the fast-track procurement procedure. These rifles will initially be issued to soldiers deployed along the border with China. 40,000 Russian Kalashnikov AK-203 rifles are being directly imported. And, 750,000 AK-203 rifles will be produced jointly (with and Kalashnikov Concern and Rosoboronexport) at the Korwa small arms factory in UP.
    The unreliable ‘INSAS’ is on the way out.

    • Times change, also the requirement chnages. When you are may be you are given only a cycle/ scooter or bike. As you grow, based on the earnings and requirements a car / house. may be after another 20 years, you may need a bigger house or depend on your childern. so it chnages. The gun requirement also chnages based on the plan of action / strategies etc.

      Stop crying.

  14. It is common to have limitation or concessions in aircraft clearance on issues which are not safety critical. Indian media is not bothered about truths, nor it is bothered about facts. They want rating sensationalism and political patronage even at the cost of countries image, security for they know how to disguise these nefarious intents under the eutopian yet unrealised mirage of democracy. Print is no exception.

  15. Now my trust in HAL and our government’s decision about induction of LCA has been endorsed further.Whatever happens we must and must build our own fighter jets. Vested interest people and media is trying their best to prove how worst LCA is? Why the previous govt didnot focus on building the jet on our own?

  16. Skeletons fall out of the HAL cupboard every day.
    All along I thought,: So, HAL has finally done it. But now, it turns out that 10 concessions given to fighter jet was behind the final operational clearance for the Tejas.
    Since it got where it is only on account of concession after concession, it can be rightly be referred to Tejas SC/ST instead of LCA.

    • You are one sick head who is incompetent and speak about SC/ST’s always. If you have it in you, join HAL and prove what you are capable of. Don’t always 😫

  17. Tejas is failed one as compared to JFThunder 7 which shows his fire power and also in dog fight so there is no comparison between tejas and jf thunder 7 which is equivalent to F16.

  18. Agree that LCA project has been delayed for years. But we must appreciate that current government has at least supported it and prioritize it. Let it go through the process of developmental stages. We are also working on development of Kaveri engine with the help from France. I’m sure, we should see a world class fighter soon and not another Chinese toy like JF-17.

  19. From the floor of Lok Sabha Madam Raksha Mantri questioned the capacity of HAL in manufacturing of quality fighter Aircraft. Now other countries are showing interest in buying the solely built Tejas Aircraft by HAL proving wrong to Madam Raksha Mantri. Will she apologize over her remarks over HAL.

  20. When we are putting comments, your approval is required to publish our comments. I like to know whether you required any approval from defense to publish this type of articles. You are inviting our enemies to attack us as it indicate, our defense is not ready for any fight, we don’t have sufficient number of fighter planes at present in our hand, nor, we have sufficient weaponry in our army. Our own all factories are valueless, they can not produce anything by their own. We are fully depend on foreign supply. These weak points are publishing before the world. I can not understand how you got permission from defense department to publish this type of articles either its all are false reports.

    • You have raised the valid points to the writer. But the editor , must be sleeping.

      We have many ignorant people, who does even think before writing any comment. Arm chair experts.

  21. Why the IAF’s squadron strength was allowed to deplete to such a level & who is involved in this, that is the moot point for which answers should be sought.

  22. This issue is of national needs. Whatever technical prooblems are needs to be so sorted out on priority.

  23. Over 30 years in the pipeline…10 concessions and another 7 years postponement…
    And so e people say that Rafaeles could be made …..

  24. The ELEPHANT in the room is briefly mentioned in the article – “IAF and HAL at loggerheads with each other”..
    This is the single most overlooked and pushed under the carpet aspect of the whole saga of IAF suffering.. In there lie answers to all questions beginning from why 36 Rafael off the shelf instead of 18 + 108 made by HAL.. For decades now IAF has been suffering at the hands of HAL, which an institution today not much better than Indian Railways..
    Look at ISRO, why is it so successful? And HAL is in doldrums? For ISRO there is no “Customer”.. It is responsible for its success and failure equally..the same needs to be done here – Make HAL part of IAF.. that’s all..

  25. Better late than never. If we consult the aviation history of the world, especially fighter jet, it took long time to develop one for any nation. Tejas our own. Initially, it may be rather time consuming and costly, in the long run it will benefit us.

  26. We all know that HAL is inefficient
    Yes tejas mak1 has many flaws
    But still I request all to support tejas…please don’t kill this project.
    Self reliance is very much important for India.
    Fighter jets from other countries tries makes us vulnerable. The selling country has codes of that equipment, so they can easily arm twist us..
    They can even stop the supply of spare parts at their will
    So my dear friends…yes I k ow that opposition is making mess of the rafale deal..but still I request everyone to support tejas….shortcomings can be Improved in other versions.
    Perhaps we can give manufacturing to private Industries…but support tejas

    • Making the aircraft in country is important, otherwise the supplier countries make us pay through the nose and have many conditions the way US is doing with Pakistan. pakistan has to use it only for defence. You cannot modify it. Armtwist us for spares or arments.

      Even if it takes time, it builds our knowledge base. failure is the stepping stone to success. its mandatory, you cannot become an expert without working When we are working on new things there will be mistakes, when we notice mistakes , we correct them, as we correct them the product improves. hence, all arm chair experts, shut up. I would prefer to put all those who refuse indegenous products, as gueine pigs for the new aircraft.

  27. Man concessions are made for Rafael also and it’s a standard procedure to keep standard to high and have some concessions at least we can have our own jet. Please except jammer other is not quite significant

  28. Tejas is treated like a Dalit i.e. VVIP and gets ten additional concessions to get Final Operational Clearance. This comes at the end of a project which is a saga of Waivers and Concessions. Performance may be like Indian Ordinance or Neta-Babu

    • idiots like you, do not know anything, but to comment. UK with more than hundred years of design and manufacture experience of aircraft anf ships have said that it takes another 30 to 50 years to design a new model of sea harrier. you can review any country will find that it takes 30-40 years for development of a aircraft. Do some research – if not, then you must a foreign crook or who does not want India develop.

      Its OK to die in our own aircraft than imported, its like dying in our house than in the street. When we die in our own aircraft its like dying during a fight. If we keep depending on import, we will end-up beings beggers eternally.

  29. It appears to be a foolhardy suggestion to surrender and sit
    Lca is a unique build ecperience in this country and there is no need to get agitated over concrssions
    The aircrfat still needs to be exploited and data needs to be collated
    Advantage here is the support syste.m is fully avialble incountry and we have reduced dependency on glass
    Have patience flying platforms take time to mature

    • “Have patience flying platforms take time to mature”….do not disagree, but in real world businesses do not get unlimited time to mature, would we have tolerated such patience for a private co and supported ? I am all for patience , but end of the day there needs to be accountability / delivery

      • idiots like you, do not know anything, but to comment. UK with more than hundred years of design and manufacture experience of aircraft anf ships have said that it takes another 30 to 50 years to design a new model of sea harrier. you can review any country will find that it takes 30-40 years for development of a aircraft. Do some research – if not, then you must a foreign crook or who does not want India develop.

        Its OK to die in our own aircraft than imported, its like dying in our house than in the street. When we die in our own aircraft its like dying during a fight. If we keep depending on import, we will end-up beings beggers eternally.

  30. Somebody should ask the Gandhis what they have done for HAL in 50 years of their family running the country.
    50 years on and we still have the same issues – poverty, unemployment, housing, food, agrarian distress.
    Congress and their friends who have ruled (ruined) this nation for 50 years have no right to ask questions. Rather they are themselves answerable for most of these issues.

  31. जहाज़ खरीदने दोगे नही। जहाज़ समय से बना नही सकते। नेता लोग सिर्फ एक दूसरे के चड्डियों में ताका झांकी करते रहेंगे। मीडिया बकवास करती रहेगी। हिंदुस्तानियों को चूतिया समझ रखा है क्या?

  32. Go for F21 ( F16 Super viper is the best option left). KEEP THE EGO ASIDE, we failed miserably in Tejas Project. Engine from USA, Radar from Israel and weapons not yet finalised. currently F21 is the best way forward

    • Hahahaha, dalal spotted.

      Tejas is an *unqualified* success. Swedish Gripen has the same engine as tejas, is that a failure too? How about the chinese JF-17 powered by unreliable russki RD-33 engine. Also a failure? Your comment is a joke.

      No nation has fought and won a war with imported weapons. Certainly not with US weapons that are liable to be sanctioned and come with a million end use restrictions.

      Your indic name doesn’t fool anyone, you are either a sold out dalal or a paki to advocate obsolete F-16 that had its ass handed on a plate by IAF’s Mig-21.

      • Yes, iiiiiiifffffff RAGA becomes the Prime Minister of this country then he would scrap the TEJAS totally stating these ten concessions and certainly go with your idea and buy EURO FIGHTER…

      • Bro I neither Pakistani nor congressional nor Dalal

        Mera Bhai India comes first for all of us. Frankly speaking the relationship with America got completely changed under USA. We should understand that Tejas mk 2 will take some time 5years. So I wish we go ahead with F21 project, which is also make in India bro.

        • If you arent a dalal or anything then u dumb and falling prey to these paid media dalals. Anyone with basic aeronautic knowledge understands that Tejas is one of the most advanced machines flying out there today.

  33. How come all the analyst and defence experts who were so outraged as HAL was being sidelined for rafale now do not make any comment on the concession, if this is what the standard of one of the nine gems we should immediately give up all disputed territorial claims with our neighbours and sign up a treaty with each of them under world body supervision , because we can’t buy , we cannot build, but we intend to fight , not possible sorry

    • Ask RaGa what he has to say about this and what his mummy dear and friends did for HAL while they ruled the nation.

    • What do you know of any projects anywhere ? Please read the development cycles of aircrafts in any country before writing some rubbish.

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