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Not so long ago, India had opportunity to have same radar on its Rafale fighter jet also on the LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jet fleet. French defense giant Thales offered a derivative of its RBE2 AESA radar, used in Rafale jets, for India’s Tejas Mk-1A fighter variant. This development unfolded in 2017.

Thales conducted successful flight tests in France that summer, analyzing the radar’s performance under various conditions. The company claimed the RBE2 derivative met all of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) requirements for the Tejas Mk-1A’s combat and air superiority missions. Additionally, Thales emphasized its solution’s ability to integrate seamlessly with the Mk-1A’s tight development schedule.

Despite Thales’ efforts, HAL opted for a different solution. The Indian defense manufacturer was already producing the Israeli ELTA ELM-2052 AESA radar for the Jaguar fighter program. After receiving approval from the Indian Air Force (IAF), HAL decided to equip the Tejas Mk-1A with the same ELM-2052 radar, leveraging its existing production capabilities.

HAL already has confirmed that from the 41st Tejas Mk1A aircraft onwards, It will switch to the Uttam AESA radar that is much superior to the ELM-2052 radar. While Thales’ RBE2 AESA derivative presented a potentially strong option for the Tejas Mk-1A. However, HAL’s preference for a Israeli solution, the ELM-2052 radar, ultimately secured the contract.