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The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) indigenous fighter jet program, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, has taken a significant step forward with the unveiling of the first LCA-Tejas Mk1A variant, LA-5033. Sporting a bright yellow primer, LA-5033 marks the beginning of the delivery of 73 upgraded Mk1A jets ordered by the IAF from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in 2021.

Fresh off completing successful low-speed taxi trials, LA-5033 is expected to progress to high-speed taxi trials soon before being cleared for its maiden flight. A slight delay in the first flight stemmed from software validation for the new high-powered Digital Fly-By-Wire Flight Control Computer (DFCC) onboard LA-5033. However, this critical technology has already been successfully flight-tested on the Tejas Mk1A prototype LSP7 on February 19, 2024, paving the way for LA-5033’s imminent first flight.

The integration of the DFCC signifies a major leap for the Tejas program. This advanced computer system enhances the aircraft’s maneuverability and stability, making it a more potent aerial platform for the IAF. The successful validation of the DFCC on the LSP7 prototype instills confidence in LA-5033’s upcoming flight tests and paves the way for the delivery of these upgraded fighter jets to the Indian Air Force.