Indian Air Force pushes for indigenisation, keen to induct 100 LCA Tejas fighters-

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI: In a major push for indigenous fighters, the Indian Air Force is working on a proposal to induct the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.

Sources confirmed that the IAF is keen on inducting close to 100 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighters for which a plan is being worked out within the air force.

The proposal is to be presented before the government subsequently.

This IAF plan is to increase the profile of indigenous combat platforms. It is part of a long term plan to not only add resources for HAL to keep its assembly lines alive but also add more indigenously manufactured combat systems, sources added.

These aircraft will replace the ageing squadrons of MiG 21 fighter jets.

Once this order is completed in the stipulated 15 years, the IAF will have 40 LCA, over 180 LCA Mark-1A and at least 120 LCA Mark-2 planes.

The decision followed the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari’s review of the status of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme at the Air Headquarters on Wednesday. Also in attendance were senior functionaries from the Ministry of Defence, DRDO, HAL and ADA.

ALSO READ | LCA Tejas successfully test-fires ASTRA

The Air Force chief had brought out that the LCA has been the flag bearer of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) efforts towards indigenisation of its aircraft fleet. Given the nature of this project of national importance, it is required that all stakeholders adopt a collaborative approach towards its success,” he said.

The first indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was inducted in July 2016. The first IAF Squadron to induct the Tejas was No 45 Squadron, the ‘Flying Daggers’. Over the years, the squadron progressed from Vampires to Gnats and then onto the MiG-21 Bis, before being equipped with Tejas.

Tejas is a multi-role platform designed to undertake the air defence, maritime reconnaissance and strike roles. The LCA Mk-1A will have updated avionics, as well as an Active Electronically Steered Radar, updated Electronic Warfare suite and a Beyond Visual Range missile capability. The new variant will be capable of firing a number of weapons from increased stand-off ranges.

As per the IAF, during the review, representatives of HAL assured the CAS of the timely delivery of the contracted twin-seaters in the coming months. Further to the LCA Mk 1, 83 LCA Mk-1A aircraft have also been contracted by the IAF in 2021. The Chairman & Managing Director of HAL assured those present that the deliveries of this advanced variant of the LCA would commence by February 2024.

While complimenting HAL, the Air Force chief indicated that based on these assurances, the LCA Mk 1A could be inducted in a newly raised squadron in one of the IAF’s operational bases, early next year.

“With timely deliveries of the more capable variant, the LCA Mk 1A is likely to see increased deployments at forward bases, besides participation in international exercises in the days to come,” he added.

NEW DELHI: In a major push for indigenous fighters, the Indian Air Force is working on a proposal to induct the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.

Sources confirmed that the IAF is keen on inducting close to 100 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighters for which a plan is being worked out within the air force.

The proposal is to be presented before the government subsequently.googletag.cmd.push(function() {googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-8052921-2’); });

This IAF plan is to increase the profile of indigenous combat platforms. It is part of a long term plan to not only add resources for HAL to keep its assembly lines alive but also add more indigenously manufactured combat systems, sources added.

These aircraft will replace the ageing squadrons of MiG 21 fighter jets.

Once this order is completed in the stipulated 15 years, the IAF will have 40 LCA, over 180 LCA Mark-1A and at least 120 LCA Mark-2 planes.

The decision followed the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari’s review of the status of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme at the Air Headquarters on Wednesday. Also in attendance were senior functionaries from the Ministry of Defence, DRDO, HAL and ADA.

ALSO READ | LCA Tejas successfully test-fires ASTRA

The Air Force chief had brought out that the LCA has been the flag bearer of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) efforts towards indigenisation of its aircraft fleet. Given the nature of this project of national importance, it is required that all stakeholders adopt a collaborative approach towards its success,” he said.

The first indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was inducted in July 2016. The first IAF Squadron to induct the Tejas was No 45 Squadron, the ‘Flying Daggers’. Over the years, the squadron progressed from Vampires to Gnats and then onto the MiG-21 Bis, before being equipped with Tejas.

Tejas is a multi-role platform designed to undertake the air defence, maritime reconnaissance and strike roles. The LCA Mk-1A will have updated avionics, as well as an Active Electronically Steered Radar, updated Electronic Warfare suite and a Beyond Visual Range missile capability. The new variant will be capable of firing a number of weapons from increased stand-off ranges.

As per the IAF, during the review, representatives of HAL assured the CAS of the timely delivery of the contracted twin-seaters in the coming months. Further to the LCA Mk 1, 83 LCA Mk-1A aircraft have also been contracted by the IAF in 2021. The Chairman & Managing Director of HAL assured those present that the deliveries of this advanced variant of the LCA would commence by February 2024.

While complimenting HAL, the Air Force chief indicated that based on these assurances, the LCA Mk 1A could be inducted in a newly raised squadron in one of the IAF’s operational bases, early next year.

“With timely deliveries of the more capable variant, the LCA Mk 1A is likely to see increased deployments at forward bases, besides participation in international exercises in the days to come,” he added.

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