Indian Air Force Review of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Program Reveals Delays
Indian Air Force Review of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Program Reveals Delays

Indian Air Force Review of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Program Reveals Delays

Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, the Chief of the Indian Air Staff (CAS), conducted an assessment of the status of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program at Air Headquarters. The review was attended by prominent officials from the Ministry of Defence, DRDO, HAL, and ADA. Commencing the proceedings, CAS highlighted the LCA’s pivotal role in the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) drive towards enhancing indigenous capabilities within its aircraft fleet. He stressed that given the project’s national significance, a collaborative approach among all stakeholders is essential for its success.

The program not only embodies the ideals of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India) and “Make in India” initiatives but also exemplifies India’s autonomy in the aerospace sector. It was noted that all contracted fighter variants of LCA Mk 1 had been successfully delivered to the Indian Air Force. Representatives from HAL provided reassurance to CAS regarding the punctual delivery of the contracted twin-seater variants in the upcoming months. In addition to LCA Mk 1, the IAF has contracted 83 units of the advanced LCA Mk-1A in 2021. The Chairman & Managing Director of HAL assured the attendees that the deliveries of this upgraded LCA version would commence by February 2024.

Tejas Mark 1A is an enhanced Tejas Mark 1 equipped with EL/M-2052 and Uttam AESA radar, self-protection jammer, radar warning receiver, as well as being able to mount an external ECM pod.
Tejas Mark 1 is a single-seat operational variant for the Indian Air Force. FOC standard Tejas Mark 1 are BVRAAM capable, with general flight envelope expansion, increased angle of attack, higher g-limit of +9 g, updated avionics and flight control software suite, as well as capable of hot refueling and aerial refueling. (Photo by PIB Delhi)

In light of these assurances and acknowledging HAL’s contributions, CAS suggested that the LCA Mk 1A could be inducted into a newly established squadron at one of the IAF’s operational bases early the following year. Despite recognizing certain project delays during the review, CAS commended the dedication of all stakeholders and underlined the importance of integrating the lessons garnered from the LCA program into forthcoming indigenous design and developmental endeavors. With the timely receipt of the enhanced LCA Mk 1A, it is anticipated that this variant will experience heightened deployment at forward bases and will actively partake in international exercises in the foreseeable future.

The HAL Tejas (Radiance) is an Indian single engine, delta wing, light multirole fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. It was developed from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters but later became part of a general fleet modernisation programme. In 2003, the LCA was officially named “Tejas”. It is the smallest and lightest in its class of contemporary supersonic combat aircraft.

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