The indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk1A fighters with enhanced capabilities including Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, Self-Protection Jammer (SPJ) and Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) will soon join the Indian Air Force (IAF). The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had in late 2017 cleared the acquisition of 83 LCA Tejas Mk1A aircraft for which quotation has been already been submitted by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The 83 Tejas Mk1A will coast the IAF almost Rs 50,000 crore and help the force in shoring up the depleting number of fighter squadrons. The government had in March 2017 sanctioned Rs 1381.04 crore to ensure that 16 Tejas fighters are produced every year from the current eight aircraft.
IAF and HAL had on March 31, 2006, entered into a contract for procurement of 20 Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) standard Tejas which was to be completed by December 2011. The 20 Final Operational Clearance (FOC) Tejas were to be delivered to the IAF by 2016.
The naval version of the Tejas is also getting ready for aircraft carrier operations with the jet undergoing tests to prove the arrestor hook system at Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF), Goa. The Spokesperson of the Indian Navy posted a short video of the LCA Navy undergoing taxi-in with an arrestor hook on its Twitter handle.
More tests to check landing and refuelling of the aircraft on a carrier have been planned for the next few months. The pilot commandeering the Tejas Navy fighter to test the arrestor hook was Captain Shivnath Dahiya. The entire test was witnessed by HAL Chief Managing Director T Suvarna Raju, Landing Signal Officer Commodore JA Maolankar and Test Director Group Captain A Kabadwal (Retd).
According to a HAL press release its design wing, Aircraft Research and Design Centre, has designed and developed the arrestor hook system for ship deck operations of LCA's Naval version. The aircraft had been operating at INS Hansa Goa since July 28 after verification of the in-air operation of the system earlier in July, the release said. The detailed carrier compatibility trials (CCT) of naval aircraft are slated to be carried out at SBTF, Goa soon.