Deputy IAF Chief Assesses LCA Mk1A Facilities: How Tejas Highlights Atmanirbharta
ACM Ashutosh Dixit assessed the TEJAS MK-1A facilities, emphasising its pivotal role. IAF plans to operate over 300 TEJAS aircraft in the next 15 years
Deputy Chief of Air Staff Ashutosh Dixit, visited the TEJAS MK-1 Twin Seater and Mk IA production facilities today in Bengaluru on September 9. The DCAS also interacted with TEJAS and Aircraft Division officers, as well as floor-level technicians, said Hindustan aeronautics Limited officials. HAL further added, “Atmanirbharta in defence is reflected with the strong push the TEJAS MK-1A has received.”
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to acquire approximately 100 TEJAS MK-1A fighter jets for over eight billion dollars, replacing the aging MiG-21 squadrons currently in service. According to HAL and the Ministry of Defence, ‘TEJAS will see an increased deployment along the frontline airbase’ soon after the induction of the MK-1A variant in early 2024.
According to officials, “the IAF has decided to purchase 100 more of these highly capable MK-1A fighter jets from HAL.” Over the next 15 years, the IAF plans to operate 40 TEJAS MK-1, over 180 TEJAS MK-1A, and at least 120 TEJAS MK-2 aircraft. That alone is a cumulative figure of 340 fighter jets. This would make TEJAS the second-largest fleet ever operated in IAF, second only to the Bisons. The MK-1A, as per MoD, has enhanced avionics and radar, with over 65% indigenous components. Contracts for 83 MK-1A aircraft were secured in 2021, and deliveries are set to commence by February 2024.
Also, during a comprehensive review, Air Chief VR Chaudhari praised the TEJAS as a ‘flag bearer’ of indigenization, emphasizing collaborative efforts. All current fighter variants have been delivered, and HAL assures timely delivery of contracted twin-seater MK-1 aircraft. The successful launch of the ASTRA indigenous Beyond Visual Range missile was a significant achievement, reducing dependency on imports, according to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Deputy Chief also took a sortie in the HTT-40 Basic Trainer Aircraft. As per the Ministry of Defence, procurement is set to begin in 2025 to address trainer aircraft shortages. The purchases would be made at a cost of Rs 6828 crore. The aircraft currently has over 56% indigenous content, and it is projected that this percentage can be increased to 60% after mass production begins. This initiative not only addresses defence needs but also has the potential to boost the Indian aviation industry and create employment opportunities.