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The Indian Air Force (IAF) may soon see its fighter jets equipped with a homegrown marvel: the Uttam Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Fire Control Radar (FCR). Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), the Uttam AESA FCR has completed most of its pre-production flight trials, paving the way for potential production clearance later this year.

The Uttam AESA FCR has undergone rigorous testing, demonstrating its capabilities in various flight modes, including air-to-air combat, air-to-ground operations, and weather and terrain avoidance/following. This comprehensive testing ensures the radar’s effectiveness in diverse operational scenarios.

The Uttam AESA FCR is destined to play a crucial role in India’s next-generation fighter jets. It will be integrated into the Tejas Mk2 prototypes, further enhancing their combat capabilities. Additionally, an upscaled version of the radar is being developed for flight trials on the Su-30MKI Upgrade Program, expanding its reach within the IAF’s fleet.

While the initial batch of 40 Tejas Mk1A fighter jets will utilize the Israeli ELTA’s ELM-2052 AESA FCR, the Uttam AESA FCR is poised to become the standard for future batches. This shift signifies India’s growing self-reliance in critical defence technologies, reducing dependence on foreign suppliers and strengthening its strategic autonomy.

Production clearance for the Uttam AESA FCR would mark a significant milestone in India’s defence technology development. Equipping advanced fighter jets with this indigenous radar will not only enhance the IAF’s operational capabilities but also serve as a testament to India’s growing prowess in cutting-edge defence technologies.

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