Title: India’s LCA Tejas Trainer Aircraft Makes Significant Strides in Defense Manufacturing
In a remarkable display of India’s defense manufacturing capabilities, the LCA Tejas trainer aircraft has taken center stage. Fully designed and manufactured in India, this aircraft has proven its mettle in offensive air support and ground attack roles. Equipped to perform all the functions of a single-seat Tejas fighter, the trainer aircraft also doubles as a fighter trainer.
Introduced to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2016, the LCA Tejas trainer aircraft has garnered praise for its performance and versatility. As part of a significant 36,468-crore order for 83 jets, Bengaluru-based Defense PSU HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) is set to commence delivery of the LCA Mk 1A aircraft to the IAF by February 2024.
To meet the demand, HAL has established two production lines for the LCA Tejas, with a combined annual production capacity of up to 16 aircraft. In a bid to further scale up production, a second production line will be established in Nashik, slated to commence operations in 2024-25. This additional facility aims to churn out 24 or more aircraft, contributing significantly to India’s defense capabilities.
Looking ahead, the development of the LCA Mk 2, an upgraded and more powerful version of the LCA Tejas, has received a substantial allocation of over Rs 9,000 crore. With its enhanced capabilities, the LCA Mk 2 is projected to become the largest fleet of fighter aircraft operated by the IAF in the future, bolstering India’s defense readiness.
At present, two IAF squadrons, namely the 45 Squadron and 18 Squadron, are fully operational with the LCA Tejas. These aircraft have already displayed their prowess in various exercises and missions, proving their worth on the battlefield.
During a recent visit to Bengaluru, Prime Minister Narendra Modi toured the Tejas production facilities, underscoring the government’s commitment to indigenous defense manufacturing. During this visit, the Prime Minister had the opportunity to witness other homegrown helicopters, such as the Prachand, Rudra, and Light Utility Helicopters. Notably, the Prachand helicopter, currently in use by the Army and IAF, is in high demand with a requirement for 156 such helicopters from the defense forces. With a maximum altitude of 6 km, the Prachand helicopter has showcased its capabilities and is poised to become an integral part of India’s defense arsenal.
The strides made in the development and production of the LCA Tejas trainer aircraft, coupled with the emerging prospects of the LCA Mk 2 and indigenous helicopters like the Prachand, Rudra, and Light Utility Helicopters, signify a promising future for India’s defense manufacturing industry. With these advancements, India moves closer to achieving self-reliance in defense production, further strengthening its national security.
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