New Delhi: The Indian Air Force will get the first Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mark-1A from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in February 2024.
Earlier, the March deadline was fixed for the supply of the aircraft, but now the delivery will be done a month in advance. Last year during Aero India in Bengaluru, the Defence Ministry had finalised the deal for 83 Tejas Mark-1A fighter jets by signing the biggest-ever deal in indigenous military aviation service from HAL.
HAL Chairman and Managing Director CB Ananthakrishnan informed that all the necessary infrastructure to produce LCA Tejas Mark-1A is in place and the trials involving Flying Test Bed (FTB) are going smoothly. The IAF is confident of receiving the first aircraft on February ’24.
The fourth generation aircraft Mk-1A will have multirole combat capabilities with improved avionics, expanded weapon package and dedicated EW suit. LCA Tejas will give new sky combat power to the Indian Air Force, which is preparing for ‘Two Front War’ and will prove to be the backbone of war in future.
HAL’s CMD has said that the Tejas Mk-1A gets 43 types of improvements including digital radar warning receiver, an external ECM pod, a self-protection jammer, AESA radar, ease of maintenance and radar. The software and hardware of Tejas Mk-1A has been prepared. It will be fitted with the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAM) and the Astra Mk-1 Air-to-Air Missile. The IAF will get 20 Tejas Mk-1A aircraft per year. The IAF will get the full 83 aircraft by 2027. These will have 73 fighters and 10 trainer aircraft.
Forty aircraft of LCA Mk-1 have already been ordered to HAL. Out of these, 18 aircraft have been found and are in service of the Air Force. In all these 40 aircraft, 43 types of improvements are to be made compared to the LCA Mk-1A. These include air-to-air refueling, deployment of long-range Beyond Visual Range missiles, advanced electronic warfare systems to jam enemy radars and missiles. These 40 Tejas Mk-1 and 83 Tejas Mk-1A are to be formed into 6 squadrons of 123 aircraft. The Air Force has currently formed two squadrons ‘Flying Daggers’ and ‘Flying Bullets’ for Tejas. Both these squadrons are based at Naliya in Gujarat and Phalodi airbase in Rajasthan, close to the Pakistan border.