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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is on the cusp of a major milestone with the upgraded Tejas Mk1A fighter jet. The first aircraft, LA-5033, has been spotted conducting crucial low and high-speed taxi trials at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facilities. This paves the way for its much-anticipated maiden flight within the next 48 hours.

The Tejas Mk1A represents a significant upgrade over the earlier Mk1 variant. The IAF placed an initial order for these jets in 2021, and a substantial follow-up order for 97 more is expected later this year.

LA-5033 holds a special distinction as the frontrunner of the Tejas Mk1A fleet. Alongside LA-5034, the second Mk1A fighter, these aircraft will form the core of the IAF’s third dedicated LCA Tejas Squadron. This squadron is slated for deployment at a forward airbase in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, situated near the western border with Pakistan, by mid-2024.

The induction of the Tejas Mk1A signifies a critical step towards India’s self-reliance in the aviation sector. The indigenous development of this advanced fighter jet not only bolsters the IAF’s capabilities but also serves as a testament to India’s technological prowess.

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