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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is gearing up for a significant expansion of its fighter jet fleet with the recent announcement by Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari that it intends to acquire an additional 100 Tejas Mk1A fighter jets. This procurement plan represents a substantial commitment to indigenous aircraft production and marks a milestone in India’s quest for self-reliance in defense manufacturing.

The Tejas Mk1A, developed by the Aircraft Development Agency (ADA) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is a state-of-the-art light combat aircraft (LCA) that has been designed to meet the IAF’s stringent requirements. With advanced avionics, weaponry, and a robust airframe, it is a formidable addition to India’s airpower.

The IAF had initially placed an order for 83 Tejas Mk1A fighter jets two years ago, and 36 of these have already been inducted into its fleet. This recent announcement to procure an additional 100 Tejas Mk1A aircraft solidifies the IAF’s commitment to bolstering its capabilities.

This order for 100 Tejas Mk1A fighter jets is not just significant; it’s historic. It surpasses previous records for the production of indigenous fighter aircraft in India. To put it in perspective, the Kiran intermediate jet-powered trainer aircraft, also developed by HAL, had a production run of nearly 190 units over five decades. The Kiran played a crucial role in training generations of Indian Air Force pilots.

The Tejas, with its advanced technology and capabilities, has become a symbol of India’s ambitions in the aerospace industry. It represents the country’s determination to reduce dependence on foreign defense imports and strengthen its indigenous manufacturing capabilities.

India has a proud legacy of developing and producing indigenous aircraft. The HF-24 Marut, India’s first fighter-bomber, developed by HAL, had a production run of nearly 147 units before being retired in 1990. The Tejas, with its modern features and ongoing enhancements, is set to carry forward this legacy into the 21st century.

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