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In a significant development, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has received the first trainer version of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, marking a milestone in the country’s indigenous fighter aircraft program. The formal handover ceremony took place in the presence of CAS Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and HAL Chief C B Ananthakrishnan.

This delivery is part of the initial order for 18 LCA Tejas Trainer aircraft that the IAF had placed in a previous contract. However, the IAF is set to expand its fleet of Tejas Trainer aircraft further with the upcoming contract for 97 more Tejas Mk1A jets.

While the precise number of additional Tejas Trainer aircraft has not been officially disclosed, sources familiar with the matter have indicated to that discussions are underway between the IAF and HAL for an extra order of approximately 20 to 22 units of the Tejas Trainer aircraft. This expansion aims to meet the evolving training needs of the IAF.

Each LCA Tejas Squadron that will be established in the future is expected to include at least 2 to 4 Tejas Trainer aircraft. These trainers will serve a dual purpose, enabling pilot training for single-seater Tejas Mk1A aircraft and participating as motherships in the Manned-Unmanned Teaming program currently under development by HAL.

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