Delay in LCA project has 'limited combat potential of IAF', says Parliamentary Committee

ANI | Updated: Dec 14, 2018 19:23 IST

New Delhi, Dec 14 (ANI) The delay in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project has "limited the combat potential of the IAF" besides increasing the costs, a Parliamentary Committee has said.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) expressed disappointment over the delay in the project, saying even after three and a half decades, India has not been able to get its first combat ready indigenous fighter aircraft.
"..Since HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) could not augment its capacity in line with the demand of the IAF, the IAF will have to depend on imported aircraft for a longer time, given its dwindling squadron strength," the Committee said in its report tabled in Parliament on Friday.
The report observed that the LCA project was sanctioned in 1983 to provide replacement for MiG-21 series but the Committee was "aghast to note that, as on 31 July, 2018, IAF has only got 9 out of the 200 fighter and 20 trainer aircraft envisaged in the Air Staff Requirement (ASR)."
The report said six aircraft have been productionised after only an Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) and "are not combat ready, as yet."
It added, "the Committee are disappointed at the progress of the project as even after three and a half decades, the country has not been able to get its first combat ready indigenous fighter aircraft."
The Committee expressed unhappiness over the fact that "the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) has still not been achieved by the LCA even after more than five years of IOC."
It said the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA)/Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have also not been able to provide IAF with even a single production standard trainer aircraft till date.
The Committee asked the Defence Ministry to actively monitor the project to ensure that FOC is achieved within its timeline, capacity is increased as soon as possible, much needed trainer aircraft are supplied to IAF, better coordination is ensured and costs are optimised. (ANI)