Saturday, July 20, 2024

Tejas MK-1A complete its maiden flight in Bengaluru? Find out the complete story

Tejas Mk-1A takes maiden flight in Bangalore on 28th March 2024


An advanced variant of the LCA Mk-1, the first production series fighter of LCA Tejas Mark-1A was inducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday in Bengaluru.

Defence PSU HAL manufactured the Tejas Mk-1A or LCA Mk1A. The Aeronautical Development Agency based in Bengaluru’s DRDO lab had for several days conducted many taxi trials before its first flight.

The flight was piloted by Group Capt (retd) KK Venugopal, HAL Chief test pilot (fixed wing). HAL said, “The first aircraft LA5033 of the Tejas Mk1A aircraft series took to the skies from HAL facility in Bengaluru today (Thursday). It was a successful sortie with a flying time of 18 minutes.”

The Mk-1A will come with superior AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar, digital radar warning receivers, advanced beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missiles, and external self-protection jammer pods, with many more improvements.

HAL has delivered two of the eight twin-seat trainers of the 40 Tejas Mk1 order worth Rs 8,802 crore and 32 single-seat LCA fighters. It is beginning to deliver 83 Tejas Mk-1A in the March 2024 – Feb 2028 time frame.

PM Narendra Modi on 23rd November 2023, flew in an indigenous Tejas fighter that was delivered in October 2023. He put his stamp of approval on the trainer. This will become the mainstay of the IAF instead of the foreign jets in the upcoming years.

IAF has two Tejas squadrons already named, the ‘Flying Daggers’ and ‘Flying Bullets’. One of them is now deployed facing Pakistan in the southwestern sector.

Being the first PM to ride a fighter jet, PM Modi says, “Successfully completed a sortie on Tejas. The experience was incredibly enriching, significantly bolstering my confidence in our country’s indigenous capabilities, and leaving me with a renewed sense of pride and optimism about our national potential.”

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), in the making of Tejas the mainstay of IAF, has granted the acceptance of necessity (AON) for 97 more Tejas Mk-1A aircraft, and after the final clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), there is an order to procure these.

A minimum of 42 fighter squadrons is needed by India to tackle China and Pakistan, but at the moment they are only down to 31. Hence, Tejas is critical for IAF to stem the depletion in the number.

In the initial years of flying, there was very little confidence from both the Centre in the Tejas and IAF. From that to making the fighter a platform that gets showcased as a flagbearer by India in multiple defense and aero shows across the world is a huge thing.

Also, it is to be noted that on March 12th, IAF reported their first loss of a Tejas Mk 1 fighter aircraft to an air crash.

The Indian Bugle
The Indian Bugle
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