IAF to order around 100 more LCA Mark-1A fighter jets for over $8 billion

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NEW DELHI: A day after India achieved major success in the space sector with Chandrayaan-3, the indigenous aerospace sector is all set to receive a major boost as the Indian Air Force (IAF) has plans to place orders for around 100 more LCA Mark1A fighter jets.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to buy these Made in India aircraft to replace the MiG-21 fighter jets in its fleet has been submitted to the Defence Ministry and all other stakeholders in the national security establishment.

The decision to buy around 100 more of these planes came around the time when Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari held a review meeting of the indigenous fighter jet programme with all entities involved including the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

“The Indian Air Force has decided that it will buy around 100 more of these highly capable LCA Mark-1A fighter jets from the HAL. The proposal in this regard has been submitted to the Defence Ministry. The project is expected to receive clearance soon to give the biggest ever boost to the private defence aerospace sector”, defence officials said.

The order will mean that the LCA Tejas fighters will enter the Indian Air Force in very large numbers. The IAF will have 40 LCAs, over 180 LCA Mark-1A and at least 120 LCA Mark-2 planes in the next 15 years.

The last order for LCA Mark1A was for 83 aircraft and the first plane will be delivered around February 2024. The LCA Mark 1A is the advanced version of Tejas aircraft. The plane has more advanced avionics and radars than the initial 40 LCAs being supplied to the Air Force.

The indigenous content in the new LCA Mark1As is going to be more than 65 per cent. The IAF chief, in the project review meeting, stated that the LCA has been the flagbearer of the force’s efforts towards the indigenisation of its aircraft fleet.

The programme has been the harbinger of Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India initiatives. More importantly, it is a flagbearer of India’s self-reliance in the aerospace sector, the IAF chief said.

During the review, it was brought out that all contracted fighter variants of the LCA Mk 1 had been delivered to the IAF. Representatives of HAL had assured the Air chief of timely delivery of the contracted twin-seaters in the coming months as well. Further to the LCA Mk 1, 83 LCA Mk-1A aircraft have also been contracted by the IAF in 2021.

The Chairman and Managing Director of HAL had assured those present that the deliveries of this advanced variant of the LCA will commence by February 2024. (ANI)

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