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IAF set to induct indigenously-developed LCA

Hyderabad, Dec.14 (ANI): The Indian Air Force is set to induct the indigenously-developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas this month, after achieving its first Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) later this month.

Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, said the ’4plus generation’ LCA designated as ‘Tejas’, is all set to be inducted in the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the project for Mark II, designed to be more powerful and capable, will commence soon.

After long delays and several cost overruns, Tejas, which will replace aged fighter aircraft MIG 21, will be inducted on December 20 in Bangalore by Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

While attending a Combined Graduation Parade of Air Force Academy here on Saturday, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne said: “40 aircrafts will be coming to the air force, produced by HAL. We will have two squadrons of the LCA Mark I and we are also simultaneously starting the project for the LCA Mark II. And the LCA Mark II is the real in the sense that it will have much more powerful engine, better radar, it will have air to air equivalent capability. It will also have pull, E.W Suite and advanced weapons. All these improvements will take place on the aircraft and by the time the deliveries of the LCA Mark I will be over, the test drives for the LCA Mark II will commence.”

The main difference between Mark I and Mark II is the General Electric engine, which will be much more powerful than the latter.

Tejas is a supersonic fighter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and was sanctioned three decades ago by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

It has undergone 2400 test flights and Browne had earlier said that it would be battle-ready by 2014. (ANI)