IAF expected to get first LCA Mark1A fighter by July


New Delhi [India]: In a significant development, the first LCA Mark 1A fighter aircraft is expected to be delivered to the Indian Air Force by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited by July this year. The aircraft was earlier expected to be delivered to the IAF in the February-March timeframe but a short delay happened due to technical reasons.

“The Indian Air Force and the public sector HAL have recently reviewed the LCA fighter project and it is now expected to be delivered to the force by July this year.

The HAL carried out the first flight of the fighter last month and a number of other integration trials would be completed in the next few weeks before it is delivered to the IAF, they said.

The indigenous fighter aircraft induction into the force will be a major step in realising self reliance in the military sector and the Prime Minister may also be invited on the occasion, the officials said.

The LCA Mark 1A project was conceptualised after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge. One order worth Rs 48,000 crore for 83 planes has already been placed and another one expected to be worth Rs 65,000 crore is going to be placed for 97 planes by the end of this financial year.

The Defence Ministry has already issued a tender to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), for the purchase of 97 made-in-India LCA Mark 1A fighter jets. This tender is the largest order for indigenous military hardware ever to be placed by the Indian government. Recently issued by the Defence Ministry to HAL, the company has been given a three-month timeframe to respond.

Government officials had informed that this program aims to replace the Indian Air Force’s fleet of MiG-21s, MiG-23s, and MiG-27s, which have either been phased out or are scheduled for phase out soon. Backed by both the Defence Ministry and Air Headquarters, the indigenous fighter aircraft program is expected to significantly boost indigenization efforts and provide substantial business opportunities for small and medium enterprises engaged in the defence sector across the country.

The indigenous fighter aircraft programme, fully backed by Defence Ministry and Air Headquarters is set to be a big boost for promoting indigenisation as well as give major business to the small and medium enterprises engaged in defence business across the country, they said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pushing for the revival of the HAL which has bagged orders for building all types of indigenous fighter aircraft, and helicopters along with the engines for them under his government.
The Prime Minister also undertook a sortie in the trainer variant of the indigenous fighter which was the first ever sortie by the Prime Minister of India in any combat aircraft.

The plan to acquire 97 more LCA Mark 1A fighter jets was also announced first by the Indian Air Force chief VR Chaudhari on foreign soil in Spain when he about the mega plans to boost the indigenous fighter aircraft orders.

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