IAF might order 50 additional LCA Tejas MK-1A fighter jets

It has been reported that the Indian Air Force (IAF) might place an order of additional 50 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas MK-1A combat aircraft. As of now, the IAF has already inducted two squadrons of TEJAS MK-1 jets, which are currently based at the Sulur Air Force Station near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. These would be in addition to the order placed by the IAF in February 2021 for 83 Mk1A worth US $6.5 Billion contract signed in February 2021. As per the contract, the first three planes have to be delivered before March 31, 2024, and subsequently 16 fighters have to be delivered per year; with all the deliveries slated to be completed within five years. The aircarft has 43 improvements over the existing version of Tejas.

As for the Tejas Mark 2, the first prototype is expected to be ready by 2025-26 and the first flight is likely to be in 2026-27.

The Tejas currently has three production models – Tejas Mark 1, Mark 1A and trainer. The IAF has ordered 40 Tejas Mark 1, 73 Tejas Mark 1A and 10 trainer aircraft. The IAF plans to procure 324 aircraft in all variants, including the Tejas Mark 2 currently under development.

About LCA Tejas – Designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and manufactured by HAL, LCA Tejas is a 4.5 generation, all weather and multi-role fighter aircraft. The aircraft is designed to be a multi-role aircraft capable of taking up offensive air support, close combat and ground attack role at ease. It is also designed to undertake Ground Maritime Operations.

The different variants of aircraft under production and development are:

• Single seater fighter for Air Force

• Single seater fighter for Navy

• Twin Seater trainer aircraft for Air Force

• Twin Seater trainer version for Navy

Further LCA Mk1A is the most advanced version of the LCA Tejas. It is equipped with AESA Radar, EW suite consisting of radar warning and self-protection jamming, Digital Map Generator (DMG), Smart Multi-function Displays (SMFD), Combined Interrogator and Transponder (CIT), Advanced Radio Altimeter and other advances features.