India’s first home-grown fighter jet, Light Combat Aircraft Tejas will participate for the first time in Indian Air Force’s biggest air exercise called ‘Gaganshakti’ to be held sometime in March-April this year.
According to a report by Mail Today, LCA Tejas has been inducted into the 45 Squadron of the IAF in the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration and are being readied for carrying out operational roles in the near future.
"A few of the tests have to be done on the LCA which are in the process of being carried out. After these are done, the plan is to deploy the planes in the forthcoming pan-India war games code-named 'Exercise Gaganshakti'," government sources told Mail Today Wednesday.
“This will be a big boost to the Make in India progarmme and will be a big landmark for the indigenous aircraft development project, which is now entering an important phase of getting operational,” an IAF official said.
No. 45 Flying Daggers became the first IAF squadron to be equipped with the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in July 2016.
The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft is a supersonic, single-seat, single-engine multirole light fighter aircraft, which has been under development for the past three decades. It has been co-developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency in cooperation with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
IAF has said the idea is to have a total of six aircraft this financial year and about eight in the next. IAF plans to induct over 80 aircraft with better specifications known as Tejas 1A.
The upgraded version of Tejas, with Active Electrically Scanned Array Radar, Unified Electronic Warfare Suite, mid-air refuelling capacity and advanced beyond the vision range missiles, will cost between Rs 275 crore and Rs 300 crore.
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Indias state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is producing around eight Tejas, a single engine multi-role aircraft, annually and the defence ministry wants it to increase the number to 18 planes per year. "We are very confident that Tejas Mark II will be a big leap forward to fulfil the single engine fighter requirement of the forces," Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Monday, adding the government was also considering export potential of the aircraft
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