NEW DELHI (Agencies): Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has successfully test-flown its first production Tejas Mk 1A Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). However, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is unlikely to receive the aircraft until mid-2024, as per an industry source.

The first production aircraft, with serial number LA-5033, conducted an 18-minute successful sortie from the HAL airport in Bengaluru on 28 March. Initially, HAL aimed to deliver at least one Tejas Mk 1A to the IAF by February 2024, but this deadline was subsequently moved up to 31 March. However, due to ongoing “disruptions in the supply chain” for the program, the handover of LA-5033 to the IAF could possibly require at least two additional months.

Despite this delay, HAL remains committed to ensuring the timely delivery of the remaining 83 Tejas Mk 1A jets ordered by the IAF. The new delivery timeline aims to complete the handover by 2027-28, a year ahead of the stipulated contractual deadline34.

The Tejas Mk 1A represents a significant advancement in India’s indigenous fighter aircraft capabilities, and its successful deployment will enhance the country’s defense readiness.

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