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India’s indigenously developed light combat aircraft, the LCA-Tejas Mk1A, is gearing up for a crucial phase of testing. After completing its maiden flight last month, the aircraft will now head to the Pokhran range for a series of weapons tests.

These tests are essential due to the significant upgrades incorporated into the Tejas Mk1A. A key change is the adoption of the advanced EL/M-2052 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar by Elta Systems. This new radar necessitates the revalidation of weapons that rely on radar guidance for the Mk1A to achieve operational clearance.

The Pokhran range will provide the ideal setting for the Tejas Mk1A to undergo rigorous weapons integration trials. These tests will ensure seamless compatibility between the upgraded aircraft and its arsenal, including air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry.

Following successful weapons testing and operational clearance, the Tejas Mk1A is expected to be formally inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) later this year. The first squadron of Mk1A jets will be stationed at the Nal airbase in Rajasthan. Notably, two Mk1A aircraft will be deployed near the India-Pakistan border, bolstering India’s air defence capabilities in the region.

The Mk1A’s enhanced capabilities, including the AESA radar and integrated weapons systems, will provide the IAF with a potent and versatile fighter jet. The deployment near the border further underscores the Tejas Mk1A’s role in safeguarding India’s airspace.

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