PM Modi’s Tejas sortie boosts confidence in indigenous capabilities

Marking a noteworthy achievement in India’s military aviation, the initial squadron of the domestically manufactured Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas was commissioned into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Bengaluru in July 2016, over three decades since the inception of the LCA’s development. Presently, two IAF squadrons, 45 Squadron and 18 Squadron, are operating at full capacity with the LCA Tejas.

| Updated: 25 November, 2023 4:22 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi experienced a sortie on the Tejas aircraft at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facility in Bengaluru, Karnataka, expressing deep pride and confidence in India’s indigenous capabilities. In a post, on microblogging site X, PM Modi shared, “Successfully completed a sortie on the Tejas.

The experience was incredibly enriching, significantly bolstering my confidence in our country’s indigenous capabilities, and leaving me with a renewed sense of pride and optimism about our national potential.” During his visit on Saturday, the Prime Minister also inspected the HAL manufacturing facility, including the section dedicated to Tejas jets.

PM Modi has been a strong advocate for the indigenous production of defence products, emphasising the need for self-reliance in this critical sector. A source from the PM’s office highlighted, “The government has taken giant steps to increase our defense preparedness and indigenization, which includes the Tejas aircraft, following the push by PM Modi.”

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In a significant milestone for India’s military aviation, the first squadron of the indigenously-built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas was inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Bengaluru in July 2016, more than three decades after the LCA’s development began. Currently, two IAF squadrons, 45 Squadron and 18 Squadron, are fully operational with LCA Tejas.

Under the Modi government, a substantial order worth Rs 36,468 crore for the delivery of 83 LCA Mk 1A aircraft has been placed with HAL, with deliveries scheduled to commence by February 2024. A source indicated, “More than Rs 9,000 crore has been sanctioned for the development of LCA Mk 2, an updated and more lethal version of LCA Tejas.”

In June 2023, India and the US announced an agreement between HAL and GE Aerospace to produce fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force (IAF). As a significant step towards indigenisation, the Transfer of Technology for manufacturing the GE engine in India was negotiated during PM Modi’s visit to the US in June 2023.

The Tejas aircraft, meaning “radiance” in Sanskrit, was named by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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