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Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, former chief of the Indian Air Force, has delivered a resounding vote of confidence in the upgraded Tejas Mk1A fighter jet, declaring it superior in several aspects even to the formidable Mirage-2000 currently in service. This statement comes as the country grapples with the question of finding a suitable replacement for the ageing MiG-21 fleet.

While acknowledging the MiG-21’s Squadrons as the first recipient of the Tejas Mk1A, Bhadauria emphasized that the new aircraft’s capabilities far surpass its predecessor it is replacing. He stated that the Mk1A is not just a MiG-21 replacement, but a leap forward in terms of technology and firepower, leaving both the MiG-21 and, surprisingly, the Mirage-2000 in its dust.

While acknowledging the Mirage-2000’s potency, Bhadauria highlighted the lack of a modern AESA radar and the limited range of its weapons as significant drawbacks compared to the Tejas Mk1A. This assessment positions the Tejas Mk1A as a force to be reckoned with, not just a replacement but a true upgrade in the IAF’s arsenal.

Here’s what makes the Tejas Mk1A a game-changer:

  • Advanced AESA Radar: Unlike the Mirage-2000’s dated radar, the Mk1A boasts a superior Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, offering unparalleled situational awareness and target tracking capabilities.
  • Deadly Long-Range Missiles: The Mk1A packs a punch with advanced air-to-air missiles like the Astra and I-Derby, allowing it to engage targets at much greater distances compared to the Mirage-2000.
  • Versatile Air-to-Ground Arsenal: Beyond air combat, the Mk1A comes equipped with potent air-to-ground weapons like the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) and, in the future, the BrahMos-NG, giving it a diverse strike capacity.

The arrival of the Tejas Mk1A marks a significant leap forward for the IAF. Its advanced capabilities, coupled with its indigenous development, signify a growing self-reliance in India’s defense sector. The Tejas Mk1A promises not only to replace aging jets but also to usher in a new era of air power for the Indian Air Force.

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