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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

With only the last 2-3 units of the order 16 FOC LCA-Tejas Mk1 remaining to conclude its first flight, work on converting an LSP (Limited Series Production) Tejas into Flying Test Bed (FTB) for the upgraded Tejas Mk1A program is gaining pace as first flight of the aircraft is planned in June this year that will be followed by another LSP converted to Mk1A FTB later in the year.

HAL is planning to start deliveries of the 8 LCA-Tejas Mk1 Trainers that are under production by mid of this year will be followed by the production of 10 more units that were ordered along with the 73 Tejas Mk1A before deliveries of the first two Tejas Mk1A starts by March 2024.

HAL plans to supply 8 more Tejas Mk1A by March 2025 and later it will ramp up the production rate to 16 and later 18 by 2029 when it concludes all orders. idrw.org has been told the first tranche of 12 GE Aviation F404-GE-IN20 engines will start arriving from mid-2023 and will continue till 2029 when the last of the Tejas Mk1A are planned to be rolled out. HAL last year placed orders for 99 F404-GE-IN20 engines after HAL secured an order from the Indian Air Force for the supply of 83 Tejas fighters.

LCA-LIFT

After getting go head to develop a Lead-in fighter trainer aircraft based on the LCA-Tejas trainer as the base, work on the LCA-LIFT FTB will start sometime in 2024 as priority remains to get Tejas Mk1A as per the agreed timeline to IAF. LCA-LIFT will see a radical shift from the technology that was incorporated in the Trainer variants of the LCA-Tejas as plans are afoot to incorporate a cockpit that’s representative of an advanced frontline fighter jet, such as the Su-30, Rafale, or AMCA to meet all future jet training needs.

LCA-LIFT will also be used to impart training on weapons, electronic warfare pods, air combat maneuvering, instrumentation pods, and fuel tanks.

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