The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to receive a significant addition to its fleet in February 2024, as it anticipates the delivery of the Tejas MK-1A aircraft, a home-grown combat aircraft with beyond-visual range strike capabilities. This announcement came from the defense ministry, which also marked the seventh anniversary of the induction of the indigenous fighter jet.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will commence the delivery of the TEJAS MK-1A aircraft from February 2024, as per the ministry's statement. The contract, valued at Rs 47,000 crore, was finalized in 2021.
The 83 TEJAS MK-1A aircraft will come equipped with advanced features, including an active electronically steered radar, an updated electronic warfare suite, and a beyond-visual range missile system.
In addition to these enhancements, the TEJAS MK-1A will boast a significant increase in indigenous content, allowing it to fire weapons from extended stand-off ranges.
Many of these weapons will be of indigenous origin, highlighting India's push for self-reliance in defense production.
The TEJAS MK-1A is a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft designed to operate effectively in high-threat air environments. Currently, two IAF units, the 45 Squadron and 18 Squadron based in Sulur, are already operating the aircraft.
However, with the acquisition of the TEJAS MK-1A, more squadrons are expected to adopt this advanced fighter jet.
Moreover, the TEJAS MK-1A has attracted attention beyond Indian borders, as India has actively pursued export opportunities for its indigenous military products. Countries such as Egypt, Argentina, the USA, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have expressed interest in procuring the TEJAS fighter jet.
Compared to the previous batch, the MK-1A version incorporates 43 significant improvements. These enhancements include digital radar warning receivers, external self-protection jammers, and improved maintainability.
The latter aspect will require additional infrastructure to support the Tejas MK-1A's operational readiness.
Overall, the upcoming induction of the TEJAS MK-1A represents a major milestone for the IAF and the Indian defense industry, showcasing the country's capability to develop and manufacture advanced combat aircraft domestically. Click here to get instant Aerospace and Defence news updates.