India approves four squadrons of Tejas fighter jets, IAF's backbone

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India approves four squadrons of Tejas fighter jets, IAF's backbone

India on Wednesday pitched faith in its ability to build advanced homegrown weapons by sanctioning approval for 83 Light Combat Aircraft—Tejas, which will be able to carry out both air defence and strike roles in the neighbourhood. “The LCA-Tejas is going to be the backbone of the Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter fleet in years to come. LCA-Tejas incorporates a large number of new technologies many of which were never attempted in India. The indigenous content of LCA-Tejas is 50% in Mk1A variant which will be enhanced to 60%” defence minister Rajnath Singh wrote on Twitter. On the operational side, the deployment of a large number of Tejas fighter jets will add to India’s conventional deterrence along borders with China and Pakistan. These planes will be able to take on long range missions because of their ability to fuel in mid-air. The will also board Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, which can allow them to safely strike at targets, often without crossing domestic borders. The key to both defence and strike capability is the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, which will be part of the plane’s electronic suite. The Cabinet has also approved infrastructure development to handle repairs or servicing at their base depots. This will reduce the turnaround time , enabling the plane to remain in the air for longer hours in combat mode. The Tejas project falls under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan. Around 500 Indian companies including MSMEs in the design and manufacturing sectors will be working with HAL to produce the jet. “The LCA-Tejas programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant Atmanirbhar-self-sustaining ecosystem,” Singh tweeted and thanked the Prime Minister for the landmark decision. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has already set-up second line manufacturing facilities at its Nasik and Bengaluru divisions, the defence minister said, adding, “Equipped with the augmented infrastructure the HAL will steer LCA-Mk1A production for timely deliveries to the IAF.”.