The government had placed an order to procure 83 Tejas MK-1A aircraft for the Indian Air Force worth around Rs 47,000 crore to HAL

Jhansi: In a major boost to India’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative, the state-owned plane maker, HAL will deliver the first Light Combat Aircraft Tejas MK-1A in March 2024.

Sharing the details about the status of the aircraft, HAL CMD R Madhavan said, “We have got an order last year during the Aero India show. After that we started working on that. We are supposed to deliver the first one in T0+36, inclusive of design.” The design activity is already going on and “by next year middle we plan to fly first prototype of this configuration. We are sure that we can finish the testing before the deadline,” the HAL CMD said.

The government had placed an order to procure 83 LCA Tejas MK-1A aircraft for the Indian Air Force worth around Rs 47,000 crore to HAL. The aircraft will come with several enhancements from its previous variant. It will be equipped with AESA radar, external self-protection jammer pods, advanced beyond-visual-range (BVR) missiles and digital radar warning receivers missiles among others.

The order was placed amidst the depleting squadrons of the IAF. In a scenario of two-front war, Indian Air Force required 42 squadron to deal with the crisis. Currently, it stands around 32 with four to retire in next two years.

Giving an impetus to indigenisation, the government is pushing for the home-made fighter jets. For procurement of 114 Multirole Combat Aircraft, the government has floated a tender.

Days after taking charge charge as IAF chief, ACM VR Chaudhari had said that the project to induct 114 aircraft would be carried out under Make in India project. He also added that these aircraft would replace the fleets of Jaguars, Mirages and MiG-29s.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be handing over one LCH helicopter to the IAF chief, ACM VR Chaudhari at Jhansi.

The Cabinet Committee on Security has cleared to procure 15 LCH for the Indian Armed Forces, including 10 for IAF and 5 for the Indian Army.

Expressing confidence, Madhavan said that “we are capable to deliver 15 helicopters within a year.” It is pertinent to mention here that the LCH was used in Ladakh last year amidst the ongoing border tension with the China’s PLA in the region. The chopper is fully tried and tested in extremely tough circumstances operating at over 16,000 feet with new weapon systems.

“This will be proven to be a very important successful product for us as well as to IAF and the Army. There is no helicopter as such of this kind with our armed forces. This is the first helicopter in the weight category and the capability we look at,” the HAL CMD said. He further added that since its a home-made system as and when IAF decides on any other weapon systems it can be easily and smoothly integrated on to the helicopter. “We are looking for an order of 150 plus,” he added.