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In a strategic move to enhance its operational capability and strengthen its presence in the sensitive region of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed its indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Tejas Mk1 fighter jets at the Awantipur Air Force Station in Awantipora.

Awantipur Air Force Station, located in the picturesque region of Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir, serves as a satellite airfield for Srinagar and was completed back in 1996. Its significance lies in its strategic location, making it a vital launching base for the IAF, especially during crucial operations like the Kargil War.

The deployment of the LCA-Tejas Mk1 fighter jets at Awantipur Air Force Station came to light when Air Marshal PM Sinha, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of Western Air Command (WAC), visited the base. During his visit, he interacted with the aircrew and lauded their operational preparedness. The inadvertent disclosure of this information reaffirms the IAF’s commitment to ensuring the readiness of its forward air force bases.

The IAF currently operates two squadrons of the LCA-Tejas Mk1 fighter jets, based at Sulur Air Force Station, situated near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. While Sulur remains their home base, the IAF regularly deploys these indigenously made fighter jets to forward air force bases in the western sector to enhance their operational reach and responsiveness.

Additionally, this deployment also serves as a crucial step in preparing for the induction of the upgraded LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jets, which are scheduled to be inducted into the IAF’s fleet from 2024 onwards. The Mk1A variant boasts further advancements, making it a formidable addition to the IAF’s arsenal.

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