December 29, 2012: After months of delays that have afflicted the programme at large, the crucial LSP-8 of HAL's Tejas programme is ready for flight by early next year. The LSP-8, a fully configured version of the Tejas and intended for user trials by the Indian Air Force (IAF), underwent an initial engine ground run on December 12, and will continue with a series of ground tests by the National Flight Test Centre before being cleared for flight. The LSP-7 (which flew in March this year) and the LSP-8 are the two airframes that will be handed over to the IAF for user evaluation trials (UET) by sometime next year, once initial operational clearance II (IOC-2) is achieved in all respects.
The Tejas programme has floundered for months without a new airframe getting into the air and final operational clearance is only slated for end 2014, after which squadron service with the IAF at Sulur in Tamil Nadu will commence. The LCA Navy programme is also stalled as the landing gear is undergoing a re-design to strengthen it.