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The Indian Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk1A program is taking a significant step towards self-reliance. Dr. Jitendra Jadhav, Director of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), has confirmed that HAL will transition from the Israeli ELM-2052 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar to the indigenously developed Uttam AESA radar starting with the 41st Mk1A unit.

This marks a major milestone in India’s quest for self-sufficiency in critical defense technologies. The Uttam AESA radar, developed by DRDO’s Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), has successfully completed over 125 flight tests on the Tejas Mk1 aircraft, with a few more tests remaining. Importantly, the radar has already received production clearance, paving the way for its integration into future Mk1A jets.

The initial batch of 73 Tejas Mk1A fighters will see a split. The first 40 aircraft will retain the Israeli ELM-2052 radar, while the remaining 33 jets will be equipped with the Uttam AESA radar. This phased approach ensures a smooth transition and allows for continued deliveries while the Uttam system ramps up production, potentially starting next year.

The Uttam AESA radar boasts several advantages. It utilizes an electronically steered array of antennas, offering superior detection range and tracking capabilities compared to traditional radars. This translates into enhanced situational awareness and improved combat effectiveness for the Tejas Mk1A pilots.