In a ceremony in Bengaluru today (October 4th), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) handed over the first 'twin-seater' Tejas trainer to the IAF, reported ANI.
Earlier Four months ago, on June 16th, the first serial-production trainer was revealed, and Deputy Chief of Air Staff (DCAS) Air Marshal Ashutosh Dixit flew the twin-seater trainer jet into the skies at the National Flight Training Centre (NFTC) in Bengaluru.
In 2021, the IAF ordered 83 improved Tejas Mk-1A jets in a deal worth Rs 48,000 crore.
Under the deal, HAL has to manufacture 10 two-seater trainer variants and 73 one-seater variants, in addition to delivering the remaining eight two-seater trainers from the earlier contract for 40 Tejas Mk-1 versions.
This series-production trainer is part of the eight ordered earlier.
The IAF is also considering the purchase of an additional 97 Tejas Mk-1A jets to replace the MiG-21 jets scheduled for retirement from the IAF fleet by 2025.
This will increase the total order for indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured Tejas jets to well over 220.
IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari received the serial-production trainer in Bengaluru.
He said, "We have now signed a contract for 83 additional LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) and we are moving forward to procuring 97 more LCAs. In the coming years, we will have a fleet of 220 LCAs in the inventory of the Indian Air Force. It is a matter of pride for the country."
Tejas Mk-1A jets are advanced variants of Tejas Mk-1 jets, featuring 40 major and minor improvements over the Tejas Mk-1, including an active electronically scanned array radar for detecting enemy aircraft at greater ranges and resistance to jamming, as well as faster turnaround times for each aircraft after sortie.
The new variant of the fighter will also have a greater load carrying capability, next-generation electronic warfare system and an array of superior avionics.
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