The Indian Air Force is likely to get its first Tejas Mk-1A aircraft in July | Latest News India

NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is likely to take delivery of its first Tejas Mk-1A aircraft from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in July 2024, officials privy to the matter said on Thursday. The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk-1A made its maiden flight from a HAL facility in Bengaluru on 28 March.

The LCA Mk-1A is an advanced variant of the LCA Mk-1 which has already been inducted by the IAF.  (X/HALHQBLR)
The LCA Mk-1A is an advanced variant of the LCA Mk-1 which has already been inducted by the IAF. (X/HALHQBLR)

The IAF ordered 83 more Mk-1A fighters 48,000 crore by February 2021.

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The Ministry of Defense also issued a tender to HAL in April for the proposed acquisition of 97 LCA Mk-1As to bolster the IAF’s capabilities at a time when it is grappling with a shortage of fighter squadrons. The new combat aircraft are expected to cost approx DKK 67,000 million

The first Mk-1A aircraft (part of the 2021 order) was supposed to be delivered to the IAF on 31 March 2024, but this could not be done as some key certifications were pending.

HAL plans to deliver 16 combat aircraft to the IAF in the financial year 2024-25. It has set up a new production line at Nashik for the LCA Mk-1A to meet the IAF’s growing fighter requirements. It can build 16 LCA Mk-1As every year in Bengaluru and the Nashik line will help HAL increase production to 24 jets. The delivery of the 87 jets is expected to be completed in 2028.

The LCA Mk-1A is an advanced variant of the LCA Mk-1 which has already been inducted by the IAF. The LCA must emerge as the cornerstone of the IAF’s combat power in the coming decade and beyond.

The IAF, the world’s fourth largest air force, is expected to operate around 350 LCAs (Mk-1, Mk-1A and Mk-2 versions), with a third of them already ordered, some deployed, and the rest having a prominent place in the air forces modernization roadmap and is expected to enter into contracts in the coming years.

In October 2023, HAL handed over the first trainer version of the LCA Mk-1 to IAF Chief Air Marshal VR Chaudhari in Bengaluru, with the twin-seater to fulfill a key training role and act as a combat aircraft if required.

The aircraft was part of an earlier order of 40 Mk-1 jets in the initial operational clearance (IOC) and the more advanced final operational clearance (FOC) configurations – the first variants of the LCA.

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