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Air Marshal Ashutosh Dixit, Deputy Chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF), has hinted at a potential increase in the production rate of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk1A. This positive outlook coincides with the anticipated opening of a third HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) production plant in Nashik by 2025.

The establishment of the Nashik facility is expected to significantly enhance HAL’s production capabilities. Air Marshal Dixit suggests this could lead to a ramp-up in Tejas Mk1A deliveries, potentially rising from the current 16 units per year to 24 units per year.

This increased production rate aligns well with the IAF’s potential procurement plans. The IAF has already placed an order for 73 Tejas Mk1A jets and is currently in talks with HAL for an additional 97 aircraft. While HAL proposed scaling production up to 30 units per year with these additional orders, the IAF seems comfortable with a more moderate pace of 24 units annually.

Sources familiar with the program told that the IAF’s preference for 24 units per year stems partly from pilot training considerations. The IAF needs to train pilots for this new variant of the Tejas, and a gradual increase in deliveries allows for a more manageable training workload.

The potential opening of the Nashik production line and the IAF’s planned additional order for Tejas Mk1A jets signal a positive development for India’s indigenous fighter jet program. The increased production rate will not only bolster the IAF’s airpower but also contribute to the growth of India’s domestic defence industry.

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