SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG
India’s pursuit of indigenous fighter jet prowess continues, with the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in talks for additional Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk1A fighters. This comes on top of the 83 Mk1A jets already ordered in 2021, showcasing the growing confidence in the aircraft’s capabilities.
The IAF is reportedly interested in procuring 97 more Mk1A jets, bolstering its fighter fleet with this domestically built platform. While the IAF seeks no major design changes for this second batch, HAL is proposing minor upgrades based on ongoing refinement of the aircraft.
One such proposed upgrade is a shift from the current multiple Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) to a single, touch-based Large Area Display (LAD). This technology, currently under development for the larger Tejas MkII variant, was also showcased on the LCA SPORT concept years ago.
While the LAD proposal requires approval, production of the second batch of Mk1A jets won’t start until after 2026-27. This coincides with the potential start of flight trials for the Tejas MkII, allowing HAL to leverage advancements from the latter program into the Mk1A upgrades.
A single LAD offers several advantages. It simplifies cockpit layout, reducing pilot workload and potentially improving situational awareness. The touch interface promises faster interactions and potentially more intuitive information access.
However, the LAD upgrade remains under consideration, and its inclusion in the second batch of Mk1A jets is not yet finalized. The IAF will need to weigh the benefits against potential costs and integration challenges.
The potential LAD upgrade for the Mk1A highlights HAL’s commitment to continuous improvement and modernization of the Tejas program. It also signifies the IAF’s willingness to embrace cutting-edge technologies that can enhance the capabilities and operational efficiency of its fighter fleet.
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