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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is engaged in discussions with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to acquire an additional 100 LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jets. This procurement is part of the IAF’s strategy to bolster its capabilities, particularly along India’s western border with Pakistan.

The IAF’s objective in acquiring more LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jets is twofold. First, it aims to strengthen its presence on the western front to enhance its preparedness and response capabilities in the event of any contingencies. Second, by deploying these advanced aircraft on the western front, the IAF intends to free up some of its Sukhoi-30MKI squadrons for deployment on the eastern border with China.

On the eastern front, airbases are relatively scarce, and the topography of the region poses unique challenges. Longer-endurance aircraft, such as the Sukhoi-30MKI, are required to effectively address these challenges. Therefore, by moving the Sukhoi-30MKI squadrons to the eastern border, the IAF aims to optimize its strategic positioning.

To prepare for this strategic deployment, the IAF has already initiated temporary deployments of LCA-Tejas Mk1 fighter jets in regions like Kashmir and Ladakh. This not only helps IAF personnel become familiar with the region but also allows for the development of aircraft-specific tactics tailored to the unique demands of the region.

The upgraded LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jets, expected to be deployed from 2025 onwards, will feature advanced radar systems and a weapons package that enhances their combat capabilities. This makes them an ideal choice for the western fleet, as these aircraft can outperform any fighter jets that Pakistan may deploy in the region.

Moreover, the recent integration of the Astra Mk1 air-to-air missile and the upcoming integration of the Astra Mk2 further enhance the LCA-Tejas Mk1A’s combat capabilities. These missiles will significantly bolster the aircraft’s air-to-air combat capabilities, making it a formidable asset in the sector.

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