Tejas completes 7 years of service
ContextIndigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas completed seven years of service in the Indian Air Force (IAF) on July 1.
- The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program was started in the early 1980s, with the Government of India (GoI) establishing the project in 1983 to replace Mig-21 fighters.
- The first prototype took its first flight in January 2001 and the fighter was named
- After more than a decade of trials, the first jet was finally inducted by the IAF in 2016 in the No. 45 squadron ‘Flying Daggers’.
- In 2020, the No.18 squadron ‘Flying Bullets’ became the second squadron to start operating the jet.
- The Tejas Mk-1 is light supersonic multirole jet, capable of doing multiple missions including
- air-defence (air-to-air)
- intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR)
- air-interdiction (striking enemy targets deep into enemy territory)
- maritime strike and reconnaissance missions
- The jet carries, an Israeli laser designating pod, multi-mode radar, helmet mounted display system and self-protection suite.
- Tejas Mk-1A: Its other variant — Tejas Mk-1A — 83 of which the IAF ordered from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in a deal worth Rs 48,000 crore in 2021, will be even more advanced.
- Tejas Mk-1A will have 40 major improvements compared to the Tejas Mk-1.
- It will have an active electronically-scanned array radar for detecting enemy aircraft at greater ranges and resistance to jamming, a new advanced self-protection jamming suite (ASPJ), digital flying control computer (DFCC), as well as, faster turnaround times for each aircraft after every sortie.
- The IAF presently has 32 squadrons (16-18 planes each) of fighter jets against the 42 needed to tackle a collusive two-front threat against Pakistan and China.
- Over the next two-three years, all four squadrons (each one has 16-18 planes) of the Soviet-era MiG-21 fighter jets will retire.
- The IAF’s Jaguar, MiG-29 and Mirage 2000 jet fleets — all inducted in phases during the 1980s — are slated to retire in batches beyond 2029-30.
- These four types of jets are about 250 in number and are operating on an extended lifecycle.