HAL readies Tejas SP-22 & SP-23 fighters for first flights

Two fighters from the Tejas Final Operational Clearance (FOC) block – SP-22 & SP-23 – are likely to take to the skies in the coming days, signalling the resumption of flight activities that were halted for a while.

An official from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) told Onmanorama that the flight trials of these two fighters will be completed by the end of this month.

The low and high speed taxi trials of both fighters have been completed. The LCA-Tejas Division of HAL is currently finishing the activities ahead of their first flights. SP-23 is manufactured by HAL’s Aircraft Division.

“The FOC variants getting ready for delivery/flight are loaded with updated software to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force (IAF). The production rate has been enhanced at LCA and Aircraft Divisions. Structural work are in advanced stages,” the official told Onmanorama.

HAL hopes that by the end of this production year, the fuselages of the remaining FOC fighters will be loaded on to their respective jigs.

An IAF official overseeing the Tejas production activities told Onmanorama that to void further delays, HAL has been told to ensure similar build-standards for all FOC variants, especially SP-21, SP-22 and SP-23, to start with.

“This would meet our operational and maintenance requirements,” the top official said.

A team consisting of representatives from IAF, HAL, Aeronautical Development Agency, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification, Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness and Regional Director Aeronautical Quality Assurance is looking into all aspects of the FOC variants, ahead of clearing them for flights.

Courtesy: Anantha Krishnann, Manorama News