IAF Chief, Arup Raha has taken his first flight aboard India’s indigenous light compact aircraft Tejas in Bangalore today. Along with this, he has also inaugurated LCA paint hangar at Bengaluru and paid a visit to production line of the aircraft.
Indian Air Force has ordered 120 Tejas aircrafts with 100 being its upgraded version. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), manufacturer of LCA Tejas will hand over fourth such aircraft to IAF by end of June 2016.
LCA Tejas has been many years in the making. It was supposed to take the place of the obsolete MiG 21 but was bogged down by delays.
LCA Tejas has also gained attention of foreign buyers with Sri Lanka and Egypt showing interest in purchasing this fighter jet. However, both countries are keen on the current version of Tejas and not on the upgraded model.LCA Tejas was also in action at the recent Bahrain Air Show as well as the 2016 DefExpo.
Twin seater LCA Tejas will comprise first squadron of IAF to be used for training and familiarization. Modifications include Active Electrically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Unified Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite, mid-air refueling capacity and beyond the vision range missiles. A total of 6 such aircrafts will be made this year with upgraded Tejas to cost between INR 275 crores and INR 300 crores.
These fighter jets are required for tackling threats from both Pakistan and China. IAF is down to just 33 fighter squadrons with 16 to 18 jets which also include obsolete 11 squadrons of MiG 21s and MiG 27. The Tejas squadron with four jets will come up in Bengaluru in July, operating from HAL hanger while it will be shifted to Sulur later.
— DPR (@SpokespersonMoD) May 17, 2016