The LCA-MK1A is expected to take flight in June this year after getting all required components fitted from Israel.
The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Tejas was first conceptualized in 1984. It has eventually managed to deliver after multiple delays.
The indigenous single engine 4.5 generation multi-role fighter jet was christened ‘Tejas’ by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The LCA programme
Indian Defence Ministry has signed an Rs 48,000 crore deal with HAL to supply 83 LCA-Mk1A to the IAF. This includes 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Mk-1 trainer aircraft.
Mk-1A will have many modifications over the Mk-1 variant. This includes Electronic Warfare system, Advanced Electronically Scanning Array (AESA) radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles and network warfare system including Software Defined Radio (SDR).
LCA development programme
The Phase I of the programme included designing and developing two Technology Demonstrators (TDs) at a cost of Rs 2,188 crore.
Phase-II of the programme included fabrication of three Prototype Vehicles (PVs), production facility at HAL for production of eight aircraft per year and manufacturing and delivery of eight Limited Series Production (LSP) aircraft.
The first three MK1A aircraft has to be delivered to IAF in 2024 followed by 16 aircraft per year for the next five years, according to the contract.
Two additional assembly lines have been operationalised by HAL to ramp up production. Back end activities have also been going on.
The current indigenous content is about 52% in the LCA. The HAL is planning to increase it to 65% in next few years.
HAL is also pitching its products to foreign countries in South East Asia and West Asia. The LCA Tejas is competing in Malaysia.
The LCA-MK2 aircraft is expected to be ready soon. It has the ability to carry heavy standoff weapons like Scalp, Crystal Maze and Spice-2000 and enhance capability.
The DRDO and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) are developing Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), and a new Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) to operate from aircraft carriers.