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India’s indigenously developed Uttam Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar is poised to make its production debut in 2024. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has already commenced the production of Tejas Mk1A fighter jets, which will be equipped with the Uttam AESA radar from the 21st aircraft onward. This marks a significant milestone in India’s journey towards self-reliance in defence technology.

The Uttam AESA radar has completed all developmental trials and is now ready for production. An improved variant of the radar was developed to integrate seamlessly with the Tejas Mk1A, incorporating technological advancements achieved over the past few years. This radar system promises to enhance the capabilities of India’s fighter aircraft significantly.

The rollout of the Tejas Mk1A jets equipped with the Uttam radar is expected to begin in 2026, starting with the 21st aircraft. The first 20 Tejas Mk1A jets will feature the Israeli ELTA-2052 AESA radar, after which a transition will occur to the indigenous Uttam AESA radar. This move underlines India’s commitment to harnessing domestic technological capabilities for its defence needs.

The Uttam radar system has garnered considerable attention for its advanced features and capabilities. It is known for its ability to track multiple targets simultaneously, provide high-resolution imaging, and offer exceptional situational awareness. This radar system will significantly enhance the combat capabilities of the Tejas Mk1A and future fighter aircraft in the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Additionally, the Uttam Mk2 radar has been developed by the Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) for the LCA-AF Mk2 fighter jet program. This demonstrates India’s ambition to equip its entire fleet of indigenous fighter aircraft with state-of-the-art radar systems.

In a further demonstration of its commitment to defence technology development, LRDE is also working on an upscaled GaN-based Uttam AESA radar for the Su-30MKI fleet, showcasing India’s resolve to modernize its existing aircraft with cutting-edge radar technology.

A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the production of the Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESAR) Uttam was signed on July 7, 2023, between LRDE, HAL, and industry partners. This collaborative effort underscores India’s determination to strengthen its defence capabilities through indigenous innovation and production.

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