HAL Working Towards Delivering First Tejas MK-1A to Indian Air Force by March End

Indian Air Force

New Delhi: Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU),  Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, is working towards delivering the first Tejas MK-1A fighter jet to the Indian Air Force by the end of this month. It is also working towards the delivery of the first twin-seater trainer version aircraft to the IAF at the earliest, defence sources said.

The work is on towards meeting the delivery by the end of March 31 and this would be a big boost for the indigenous fighter aircraft project where an advanced aircraft would be provided to the IAF, they said.

The Indian Air Force has already signed a contract worth over Rs 48,000 crore with the HAL for supplying 83 Tejas planes while there is clearance for buying 97 more of them at Rs 65,000 crore. The HAL has already carried out ground trials including slow taxi runs.

The Tejas MK-1 aircraft were inducted into the IAF in 2016 and two of their squadrons including 45 Squadron and 18 Squadron. Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari had termed the clearance of the 97 Tejas a “landmark event”.

“We already had 40 Tejas of the original IOC and FOC version. So with this, in the long run, the strength of the Indian Air Force will grow to 220 Tejas MK-1As, which will equip almost ten squadrons of the Air Force,” he said after the deal got cleared by the defence acquisition council.

The IAF sees the 97 Light Combat Aircraft as an ideal fit to replace the depleting strength of the combat aircraft in the force in view of the phasing out of the MiG-series planes.