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After the Parliamentary standing committee on Defence (SCOD) came hard on Modi Government for lack of progress in the procurement of fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) recently had a meeting with the head of DRDO, ADA and HAL and came hard on shifting schedule in the Indigenous Fighter jets program specifically Tejas MkII (17.5 tonnes) and AMCA (24.5 tonnes) program without which IAF Fighter Squadrons levels will be below 10-12 Squadron less than sanctioned strength.

Last September, Cabinet Committee on Security cleared the project to develop Tejas MkII at a cost of over Rs 6,500 crore, in addition to the Rs 2,500 crore earlier sanctioned for it. MkII will succeed fighters like Mirage-2000s, Jaguars and MiG-29s in the Indian Air Force’s combat fleet and PMO has called ADA and HAL to ensure that it enters production by 2028-29 as assured while getting CCS Clearance.

Deliveries of 73 Tejas Mark-1A (14-tonne weight) aircraft are scheduled to begin in February 2024, following the delivery of Tejas Mk1 FOC Trainer aircraft. The first of the 18 ordered Trainer aircraft recently took to the air, with the remaining 17 yet to begin test flight and handover, which may affect Mark-1A deliveries.

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