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India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk1 program was shaken on March 12th by its first-ever crash. The locally produced, single-engine fighter jet went down near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. While the court of inquiry is still ongoing, initial reports point to an engine seizure as the cause of the accident, according to unnamed officials. One official cited an oil pump malfunction as the likely culprit.

The ill-fated aircraft, a relatively new addition to the IAF fleet at just three years old, prompted a swift response. The Indian Air Force grounded all remaining 35 LCA-Tejas Mk1s for a comprehensive inspection. Flights were only resumed after the grounded aircraft received clearance following thorough checks.

This incident marks a significant setback for the Tejas program, which began in 2001. While the IAF investigates the cause and works to prevent similar occurrences, the grounding serves as a reminder of the importance of rigorous safety protocols in maintaining a healthy air fleet.