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Aero India 2023

Chief of Air Staff reviews LCA project


A file photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari has reviewed the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project as the delivery of the Mk-1A variant of the indigenously-developed jet to the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to start in February next year.

He described the project as the "flag bearer" of India's self-reliance in the aerospace sector and emphasised on the need to incorporate the lessons learnt from it into future defence projects.

The Chief of Air Staff carried out the review of the LCA Tejas project at the Air Headquarters on Tuesday, the IAF said.

In February 2021, the defence ministry sealed a Rs 48,000 crore deal with state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for procurement of 83 Tejas MK-1A jets for the IAF.

The new variant of the jet will be capable of firing a plethora of weapons including beyond visual range missiles, according to officials.

The Chief of Air Staff said that given the nature of this project of national importance, it is required that all stakeholders adopt a collaborative approach towards its success, according to the IAF.

The LCA programme has been the "harbinger" of Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India initiatives of the nation, the IAF said in a statement.

The IAF has already inducted nearly 40 LCA Tejas of initial variants.

Senior officials of the defence ministry, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Aeronautical Development Agency were present during the review.

"Representatives of HAL assured the Chief of Air Staff of the timely delivery of the contracted twin-seaters in the coming months, as well," the IAF said.

It said the Chairman and Managing Director of HAL assured those present at the meeting that the deliveries of this advanced variant of LCA Mk-1A would commence by February, 2024.

"While complimenting HAL, the Chief of Air Staff indicated that based on these assurances, the LCA Mk 1A could be inducted in a newly raised squadron in one of the IAF's operational bases, early next year," the IAF said.

Notwithstanding the project delays that were brought out during the review, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari lauded the efforts of all stakeholders and underlined the need to incorporate the lessons learnt from the LCA programme into future indigenous design and development projects.

"With timely deliveries of the more capable variant, the LCA Mk 1A is likely to see increased deployments at forward bases, besides participation in international exercises in the days to come," the IAF said.

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