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In a significant development for India’s defense capabilities, the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), CB Ananthakrishnan, has confirmed that the first Tejas Mk1A fighter aircraft will be handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) as scheduled in February next year.

Underlining the progress of the Tejas Mk1A program, HAL plans to transfer at least two newly manufactured Tejas Mk1A aircraft to the IAF by March 2024. The Tejas Mk1A, an advanced variant of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, is a testament to India’s indigenous defense capabilities and technological advancements in aviation. The LCA Mk-1A program was contracted by the Indian Ministry of Defence in 2021 at a value of Rs 47,000 crore.

The Tejas Mk1A will be equipped with several upgrades that enhance its combat capabilities. These upgrades include an active electronically steered radar, an updated electronic warfare suite, and a beyond-visual-range missile system. The incorporation of these advanced systems will enable the Tejas Mk1A to operate effectively in high-threat air environments, bolstering India’s ability to counter modern air challenges.

One of the significant advancements highlighted by HAL is the capability of the Tejas Mk1A to fire weapons from increased stand-off ranges. This enhanced range is expected to provide a strategic advantage in combat scenarios, allowing the aircraft to engage targets from a safer distance. The inclusion of indigenous weaponry underscores India’s drive toward self-reliance in defense manufacturing and technology.

Currently, two IAF squadrons – the 45 Squadron and the 18 Squadron – based in Sulur are operating the Tejas aircraft. With the timely delivery of the Tejas Mk1A, more IAF squadrons are expected to induct these advanced fighter jets. This expansion of the Tejas fleet will further bolster India’s aerial defense capabilities and contribute to the modernization of its air force.

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