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India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), a renowned state-owned aerospace company, has agreed to undertake the replacement of 16 major British components used on the LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jet, as per Argentina’s request. However, the key condition for the collaboration is that Argentina must bear the cost of certain major system changes required in the aircraft. While this collaboration represents a significant opportunity for Argentina to upgrade its fleet, some challenges lie ahead, particularly in replacing the British-origin Martin Baker ejection seats.

One of the most significant hurdles in the upgrade process is the replacement of the Martin Baker ejection seats, which are of British origin. Incorporating ejection seats from either the United States or Russia would necessitate modifications to the cockpit and recalibration of the ejection seat firing sequence. Additionally, recertification by the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (Cemilac) will be required to ensure the aircraft’s safety and compliance with aviation standards.

As part of the indigenization drive, some of the components procured from the UK will be replaced with locally developed alternatives. For instance, the Quartz nose cone, a critical component, will be produced by a private sector company, showcasing India’s progress in domestic aerospace manufacturing capabilities. Moreover, locally made MRF tyres, already undergoing trials, will be integrated into the upgraded aircraft.

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