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Retired Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, a prominent advocate for indigenous fighter jet programs in India, has voiced his support for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and their role in the development of the Tejas MkII fighter jet. In an interview with ANI, he emphasized the need for HAL to have the capacity to deliver at least 24 Tejas MkII fighter jets annually when production begins in 2028 and onwards.

The Tejas MkII is a crucial addition to the Indian Air Force (IAF) as it is intended to replace mid-tier fighter jets, including the Anglo-French Jaguars, Russian Mig-29UPG, and French Mirage-2000H. The IAF has committed to procuring 120 Tejas MkII fighter jets in the first instalment, with an additional 60 in the second instalment. This procurement could potentially expand to a fleet of 200 Tejas MkII fighter jets by 2040.

Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria, who served as a test pilot for the LCA-Tejas Mk1 program, expressed his satisfaction with the IAF’s decision to purchase an additional 100 Tejas Mk1A aircraft, supplementing the 83 that have already been ordered. With a career that saw him fly over 26 types of military jets, his endorsement of the LCA-Tejas Mk1 program carries significant weight.

In his interview, Bhadauria praised the LCA-Tejas Mk1 program, hailing it as the best aircraft in its class. This endorsement underscores the increasing confidence in India’s indigenous defence capabilities and reflects the IAF’s commitment to modernizing its fleet with homegrown solutions.

The Tejas program represents a significant milestone in India’s journey toward self-reliance in the defence sector. The support and enthusiasm of experienced leaders like Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria only serve to bolster the nation’s determination to strengthen its defence capabilities through indigenous development and production.

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