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India’s pursuit of self-reliance in defense manufacturing has taken a significant leap forward with the Indian Air Force (IAF) considering the procurement of an additional 100 Tejas Mk1A fighter jets, supplementing the existing order of 83 aircraft. This decision not only bolsters the nation’s defense capabilities but also paves the way for a substantial increase in the indigenous content of these advanced aircraft.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the state-owned aerospace and defense company, is set to play a pivotal role in boosting the indigenous content of the Tejas Mk1A fighter jets. Presently, the indigenous content stands at an impressive 65 percent. However, with the heightened emphasis on indigenous manufacturing, HAL is poised to elevate this percentage to well over 75 percent in the forthcoming years.

In the existing fleet of 40 Tejas Mark 1 aircraft, the indigenous content is valued at 59.7 percent by value and an impressive 75.5 percent by the number of line replaceable units. This exemplifies India’s capability to domestically manufacture critical components that are integral to the functioning of the aircraft.

The impending delivery of the upgraded Light Combat Aircraft Tejas MK-1A, scheduled to commence from February next year, The Tejas Mk1A will feature updated avionics, an active electronically steered radar, an updated electronic warfare suite, and a beyond-visual-range missile capability. Notably, the indigenous content in this advanced variant will stand at an impressive 65 percent.

HAL’s proactive efforts to replace imported components with indigenous alternatives will be a driving force in achieving this remarkable feat. Notably, the focus areas for indigenization include the nose cone and inflight refueling probe, which are currently sourced from the United Kingdom.

The Tejas Mk1A’s commitment to safety remains paramount. The aircraft will continue to be equipped with Martin Baker ejection seats, along with select Israeli systems that contribute to its unparalleled performance. Moreover, as India explores export avenues for this advanced fighter jet, adaptations might be made to cater to specific requirements. For instance, the export variant, especially for countries like Argentina, may include an American-manufactured ejection seat if the deal materializes.

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