Why Tejas fighter aircraft are in demand?

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Tejas made its first flight in January 2001. The aircraft was inducted into the squadron of the Indian Air Force in 2016…reports Asian Lite News

The government had informed the Lok Sabha on Friday that Malaysia is procuring 18 Tejas fighter jets while the US, Argentina, Australia, Egypt, Indonesia and Philippines too have shown interest to procure the light combat aircraft (LCA).

Last year, the Indian government had awarded a Rs 48,000 crore contract to state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for manufacturing 83 Tejas jets to be delivered by 2023.

The indigenous Tejas fighter jet was in the news recently after becoming Malaysia’s first choice. This Indian aircraft competed with the developed aircraft of China, Russia and South Korea, and due to its features, it overshadowed all the aircraft.

Defence expert Qamar Agha said that if compared to Sukhoi, Tejas is much lighter.

“Tejas is fully capable of carrying a load of eight to nine tonnes. It can fly with as many weapons and missiles as Sukhoi, which weighs more. Its biggest advantage is its speed. Despite being light, its speed is unmatched. These aircraft can fly as fast as the speed of sound, i.e., Mach 1.6 to 1.8, up at an altitude of 52,000 feet,” he said.

Agha added: “The Tejas Mark-1A is also costlier than the Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft because many latest equipment have been added to it. For example, it has radar developed in Israel. Apart from this, the aircraft also has an indigenously developed radar. It is very light and its fighter power is also better. It is a multifunctional fighter aircraft.”

Tejas is fitted with an active electronically-scanned radar for critical operation capability. It can refuel in the air and be ready for war again. It can target enemy aircraft from a distance. Not only this, it also has the ability to dodge the enemy’s radar.

“At a time when there is a shortage of fighter jets in the Indian Air Force fleet, Tejas should be welcomed,” the defence expert said.

Tejas made its first flight in January 2001. The aircraft was inducted into the squadron of the Indian Air Force in 2016.

The government said, “Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a defence PSU under the Ministry of Defence, responded to a request for information received from Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) in February 2019 for LCA class aircraft.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt said: “Subsequently in October 2021, HAL responded to request for proposal issued against tender released by the Royal Malaysian Air Force for 18 Fighter Lead In Trainer – Light Combat Aircraft (FLIT-LCA) and offered the LCA Tejas twin seater variant.”

The Government has taken several policy initiatives in the past few years and brought in reforms to encourage indigenous design, development and manufacturing of defence equipment in the country, thereby expanding production.

These initiatives, inter-alia, include:

* According priority to procurement of capital items from domestic sources under the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020.

* The announcement of 18 major defence platforms for industry-led design development in March 2022

* Notification of three ‘Positive Indigenisation Lists’ of total 310 items of services and two ‘Positive Indigenisation Lists’ of 2,958 items of the Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timelines indicated against them.

Air Chief Marshal Flies Tejas MK1

Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari on Friday flew indigenous planes including Light Combat Aircraft Tejas Mk1 made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Light Combat Helicopter and training aircraft HTT-40.

These aircraft are being inducted into the Indian Air Force as part of its drive towards “Atma Nirbhar (self-reliant) in Defence”. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari is presently on a two-day visit to Bengaluru.

The upgrades on the Tejas programme and the capabilities of the other two indigenous platforms were demonstrated to the IAF chief. He also interacted with the test crew and designers to understand the current status and future plans.

Tejas is a single-engine, delta wing, light multirole fighter developed by HAL. The Tejas currently has three production models- Tejas Mark 1, Mark 1A and the trainer variant.

The HAL Light Combat Helicopter is a multi-role attack helicopter. HAL HTT-40 is a training aircraft which replaces the Air Force’s retired HPT-32 Deepak as a basic trainer.

IAF to retire entire MiG-21 fleet by 2025

The Indian Air Force recently said that it is going to retire one more squadron of the MiG-21 Bison aircraft by September 30. “The 51 Squadron based out of Srinagar air base is being number plated on September 30. After this, only three squadrons of the planes would be left in service and would be phased out by the year 2025,” sources said.

Now every year, one squadron each of MiG-21 will be number plated, sources added. The MiG-21 fighter jets are replaced by more capable aircraft like the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and the Su-30.

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