The Indian Air Force (IAF) is preparing to take delivery of its first batch of 16 TEJAS MK-1A fighter aircraft, the first units of which will enter service this year.

This was confirmed by HAL chairman and CEO, CB Ananthakrishnan, who announced that the first delivery would be made “in the next few months.” HAL is committed to deliver 16 TEJAS MK-1Aby March 31, 2025. According to an Indian news report, the production of 180 TEJAS MK-1A and its successive variants will account for most of HAL’s revenue for the foreseeable future.

Progress of The Tejas Program

Ananthakrishnan also told BS that HAL has almost completed delivery of its first two orders for 40 TEJAS MK-1 fighters to the IAF. Nine MK-1s remained to be delivered this year, of which five two-seater trainers have already been delivered and the remaining four aircraft will be handed over at a later date.

In parallel, the integration of five major improvements to the TEJAS MK-1, which would bring it up to TEJAS MK-1A standard, is being completed. Two of the five major upgrades, which are the integration of the AESA radar and the new electronic warfare (EW) suite, are nearing completion. This upgraded avionics is complemented by the integration of new air-to-air weaponry, such as the indigenous Astra missile and the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM), assembled in India under license from MBDA.

Another improvement planned for the TEJAS MK-1 fleet is the integration of the same in-flight refuelling probe that equips the more advanced MK-1A variant.

Finally, the HAL chief reported that the Tejas cockpit has been adapted to the size and shape of 90% of IAF pilots. “We have fully met the anthropometric requirements of the TEJAS, which require the cockpit to be suitable for the 5 to 95th percentile of pilots.”

There are still some minor modifications and testing to be done, such as testing and certifying the twin rail so that each TEJAS light fighter can carry twice as many ASRAAM missiles.

(With Agency Inputs)