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The delivery of the much-anticipated Tejas Mk1A fighter jets to the Indian Air Force (IAF) has encountered a slight delay, according to officials. Originally slated for March 2024, the first two jets are now expected by March-end, with few more following by year-end. The final delivery under the Rs 46,898 crore contract is now pushed to February 2028.

While officials acknowledge the delay, they downplay its significance. They cite the testing of the improved digital fly-by-wire flight control computer (DFCC) onboard older LCA-Tejas as a primary reason for the setback. Integrating this crucial component into the Mk1A variant seems to have taken longer than anticipated, impacting the planned taxi trials.

The original contract stipulated the delivery of 83 Tejas Mk1A jets to the IAF between February 2024 and February 2028. While the initial promise of delivering two jets by February 2024 couldn’t be met, officials remain confident about delivering them by March-end. Further deliveries are expected throughout the year, with the entire squadron operational by 2028.

The Tejas Mk1A is an upgraded version of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, boasting improved capabilities like enhanced avionics, longer range, and better weapon carrying capacity. It’s crucial for the IAF to modernize its aging fighter fleet and achieve self-reliance in its defense needs.

Despite the delay, the Tejas Mk1A program remains crucial for India’s airpower ambitions. Addressing the DFCC testing hurdles and streamlining production processes are key to ensure timely delivery and bolster the IAF’s capabilities. Continued monitoring of the project’s progress is essential to assess its impact on India’s strategic goals.