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Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has announced a significant shift in the Tejas Mk1A fighter program. Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) CB Ananthakrishnan confirmed that the Uttam AESA Fire Control Radar (FCR) will replace the Israeli ELM-2052 AESA radar starting from the 41st Tejas Mk1A aircraft onwards.

The Uttam AESA FCR represents a major milestone in India’s defence indigenization efforts. Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), this indigenous radar has completed 125 flight tests on two Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas prototypes.

The Uttam AESA FCR has undergone rigorous testing and validation, encompassing all operational modes – Air to Air (A2A) and Air to Ground (A2G). This comprehensive evaluation process paves the way for its integration into the Tejas Mk1A fleet.

The Tejas Mk1A variant will integrate a more advanced version of the Uttam AESA FCR compared to the prototype tested earlier. This upgraded variant boasts an increased number of Transmit-Receive (TR) modules, from 780 to 912, potentially enhancing its performance.

The adoption of the Uttam AESA FCR in the Tejas Mk1A program has broader implications. Analysts suggest this move could indicate a common radar system for both the Tejas Mk1A and Mk2 variants. This standardization would streamline production lines and reduce variant complexity.

The Uttam AESA FCR program extends beyond the Tejas platform. Upgraded variants with larger antennas and even higher TR module counts are being developed for integration into the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and the Su-30MKI upgrade program. These adaptations cater to the more powerful engines equipping these aircraft, ensuring compatibility and optimal performance.

The integration of the Uttam AESA FCR in the Tejas Mk1A marks a significant milestone in India’s quest for self-reliance in defence technology. It equips the Tejas with a domestically developed, advanced radar system, enhancing its combat capabilities and reducing dependence on foreign suppliers. This successful integration paves the way for the Uttam AESA FCR to become the mainstay radar system for future Indian fighter jets.

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