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Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has moved closer to choosing the Russian NPP Zvezda K-36 ejection seats for integration into the Tejas Mk1A fighter jets earmarked for the Argentine Air Force if ordered are placed. The K-36DM ejection seats, manufactured by NPP Zvezda, are renowned for their advanced zero-zero capabilities, ensuring safe ejections even at zero speed and altitude.

These seats are currently utilized in the Indian Air Force’s Su-30 MKI fleet, demonstrating their reliability and efficiency. However, some recalibration of the ejection seat firing sequence may be required to seamlessly integrate them into the Tejas Mk1A aircraft.

The Indian aerospace giant has already proposed replacing the existing British-made Martin-Baker ejection seats on the Tejas Mk1A jets for Argentina as the British Arms embargo prevents Argentina from acquiring any British-origin equipment even by third-party sellers like India.

China has also thrown its hat into the ring, offering its locally-made ejection seats for the JF-17 fighter jets it is proposing to Argentina. This seat, derived from an older Russian ejection seat design, is part of China’s comprehensive offer that includes the replacement of Russian RD-93 engines with the Chinese WS-13 engines.

The Tejas Mk1A aircraft, while boasting impressive capabilities, has around 14 major and minor British-origin systems and equipment. HAL’s commitment to self-reliance has led to a strategy of replacing or substituting these components with locally developed alternatives. Among the prominent British-origin components slated for replacement are the inflight refuelling probe, ejection seats, and nose cone.

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