Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a sortie on the indigenously built light combat fighter aircraft Tejas in Bengaluru today.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bengaluru-based defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on Saturday and reviewed the ongoing work at its manufacturing facility, officials said.
“Successfully completed a sortie on the 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,” Prime Minister Modi posted on X.
Successfully completed a sortie on the 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. pic.twitter.com/4aO6Wf9XYO
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 25, 2023
Tejas is a single-seater fighter aircraft but the Prime Minister took a sortie in the twin-seat trainer variant operated by the Air Force. The Indian Navy also operates the twin-seater variant.
Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is a 4.5-generation multi-role fighter aircraft and is designed to take offensive air support and provide close combat support for ground operations.
Tejas is the smallest and lightest aircraft in its class and the dimensions and the extensive use of composite structure make it lighter. The fighter jet has an excellent safety track record of accident-free flying.
The Indian Air Force presently operates 40 Tejas MK-1 aircraft and the IAF has 83 Tejas MK-1A fighters on order in a deal worth Rs 36,468 crore.
Earlier this month, the LCA Tejas took part in the Dubai Air Show. The LCA Tejas was part of the static and aerial display and performed some daring manoeuvres proving its capability as a formidable fighter aircraft.
The LCA was built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and was primarily designed for the Indian Air Force but a Naval variant of the Tejas is being tested to undertake Ground Maritime Operations. The home-built fly-by-wire system in the Tejas is one of the key achievements of the HAL.
The twin-seater was added to the Air Force’s repertoire in October catapulting India to the list of “very few” elite countries who have created such capabilities and have them operational in their Defence Forces.
HAL has an order of 18 twin seaters from IAF and is planning to deliver eight of them during 2023-24. The remaining 10 would be delivered progressively by 2026-27.
During Prime Minister Modi’s state visit to the US, New Delhi and Washington signed a historic agreement with HAL and General Electric (GE) to manufacture the F414 fighter engines to power Tejas Mark 2 fighter jets, an advanced and powerful variant of Tejas Mark 1A. The F404 GE engine powers the Mark 1 variant of Tejas.
The Indian Air Force operates two squadrons of the LCA Tejas – No. 45 Squadron the ‘Flying Daggers’ and the No. 18 Squadron. the ‘Flying Bullets’.
The LCA Programme
The Indian Air Force plans to replace the ageing MiG-21 aircraft with the LCA Tejas Mark 1A aircraft by 2025. The LCA program was envisioned in the late 1980s to replace the MiG-21s that have been serving the Air Force since 1963.
Only two MiG-21 squadrons are currently operational in the air force. MiG-21s from the No. 4 Squadron, located in Uttarlai Rajasthan, were retired last month and will be replaced by the Su-30MKI.
The LCA was rechristened as ‘Tejas’ and took to the air on January 4, 2001, marking a historic moment for the Indian Air Force.