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1st New Tejas Mark 1A Fighter Squadron To Be Deployed At Rajasthan Air Base

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New Delhi: The Indian Air Force plans to form the first squadron of the domestically produced LCA Mark1A fighter aircraft at the Nal air base in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district, located close to the Pakistan border.

These aircraft, surpassing the capabilities of the existing LCA Mark1 Tejas fighters, are undergoing improvements with cutting-edge indigenous radars and avionics.

“The first squadron of the LCA Mark1A fighters is planned to be based out of the Nal air base in Rajasthan and would be inducted in one of the two MiG-21 Bison squadrons deployed presently there,” defence sources told ANI.

The first LCA Mark1A aircraft is expected to be handed over to the Indian Air Force by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in the February-March timeframe.

With 83 already in production and clearance for an additional 97 by the central government, the production of LCA Mark1A fighter jets is set to escalate significantly. Over the next 8-10 years, a total of 220 LCA Mark 1 and LCA Mark1A aircraft, including 40 LCA Mark-1 Tejas fighters, are slated to join the Indian Air Force.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is ramping up fighter aircraft production, aiming to achieve a rate of 24 aircraft per year by 2025.

The Indian Air Force plans to replace Mirage-2000 and Jaguar aircraft with indigenous fighters. Future projections include 10 squadrons of LCA Mark 1 and Mark 1A, 12-13 squadrons of LCA Mark-2, and Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, along with 13 squadrons of Russian-origin Su-30MKI, forming the bulk of the Air Force by the end of the next decade.

The Air Force’s commitment to ‘Made in India’ fighters is clear, aiming for around 120 Multirole Fighter Aircraft indigenously, providing capabilities similar to the two Rafale squadrons.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sortie in the LCA trainer aircraft in October boosted the Indian indigenous fighter aircraft project. Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and the top Air Force brass strongly support indigenous projects, with efforts to indigenize Su-30MKI fighters and procure 156 Light Combat Helicopters.

The Defence Acquisition Council recently approved three major indigenous projects for the Indian Air Force, collectively valued at over Rs 1.74 lakh crore, to be executed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in collaboration with private sector firms.

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