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The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has achieved a notable milestone, logging over 10,000 incident-free flying sorties. This accomplishment underscores the success of the indigenous fighter jet program, despite facing challenges along the way.

Developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the Tejas first took flight in 2001 and has since undergone extensive testing and refinement. The IAF currently operates two squadrons of the single-seat variant, with two-seater trainers also being inducted. This achievement signifies the growing operational maturity of the aircraft.

However, the Tejas journey hasn’t been without its setbacks. In 2020, a onboard emergency nearly claimed the life of Group Captain Varun Singh while test-flying a Tejas after major system updates. Group Captain Varun Singh during a system check sortie exposed a rare and unprecedented catastrophic failure of the Flight Control System and pressurization system.

Looking ahead, the Tejas program continues to evolve. Future variants like the Mk1A and naval variant are under development, aiming to enhance capabilities and cater to diverse operational needs.

In conclusion, the Tejas reaching 10,000 safe sorties marks a significant achievement for India’s indigenous defense program. While acknowledging the 2020 accident, it’s crucial to recognize the ongoing efforts to learn, improve, and ensure the Tejas remains a reliable and vital asset for the IAF.

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