Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria said on Thursday that the latest Tejas light fighter was much better and advanced than the Sino-Pakistani JF-17 fighter jets, adding that it was well equipped for carry out Balakot-type airstrikes.
In an interaction with ANI, the air chief said that the 83 native fighter jets that would be integrated into the force would also be equipped with local weapons such as the Astra beyond the visual range of the missiles. air-to-air and other dead-end weapons.
“The Indian Tejas plane is much better and advanced than the Chinese-Pakistani joint venture’s JF-17 fighter,” Bhadauria said when asked to compare the Indian fighter with the JF-17.
Asked whether the Tejas would be capable of carrying out Balakot-type airstrikes, the air chief said: “In terms of strike capacity, it will have the capacity of a backup weapon which will even be – beyond the capacity we used at the time. “
Noting the approval of the largest indigenous defense procurement agreement for the purchase of 83 LCA Tejas, Air Chief Bhadauria said the deal was an important step in building the capacity of the IAF, adding that the current strength of LCA’s two-squadron plan will now increase to six.
“The order for 83 aircraft is huge. When this type of order takes shape in the next 8 to 9 years, the whole ecosystem will be in place. For military aviation, this will be a big step. It will be an important base. for fighters, production, maintenance and support of aircraft, ”the IAF chief told ANI.
“This is a big step forward for building the capacity of the IAF. It is also a big boost for our indigenous industry. It is also a great recognition of our designers. It is a huge step forward. for the Indian Air Force and for the country, ”he added.
Regarding the possible deployment of the newly purchased aircraft, he said: “The 83 planes will take care of four squadrons. The current strength of LCA’s two-squadron plan will now increase to six. Essentially, the deployment will be in First line.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, head of the Cabinet Committee, on Wednesday approved the largest indigenous defense purchase deal worth around Rs 48,000 crore to buy 83 LCA Tejas Mark1A fighter jets. The agreement to be signed in the coming days with HAL would strengthen the Indian Air Force. s fleet of local “LCA-Tejas” fighters and global combat capability.
It is noteworthy that the Indian Air Force (IAF) had deployed Tejas Light Fighter Jets (LCA) to the Western Front along the Pakistani border due to tensions with China on the Ladakh front. ‘last year.
In view of the Chinese border aggression, the Air Force has deployed its resources all along the borders with China and Pakistan.
The deal would be a major boost for the IAF and help stop the decline in the number of its fighter squadrons.
The Mk-1A light fighter variant is a modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft designed, developed and manufactured locally. This aircraft, which is equipped with critical operational capabilities of Active Scanning Electronic Radar (AESA), Beyond Visual Range Missile (BVR), Electronic Warfare Suite (EW) and Air Refueling (AAR), would be a powerful platform to meet the operational needs of the Indian Air Force.
This is the first purchase of combat aircraft in the “Purchase (designed, developed and manufactured locally)” category of combat aircraft with 50% local content which will gradually reach 60% by the end of the program. .
The Cabinet also approved the infrastructure development by IAF as part of the project to enable it to manage repairs or maintenance of their base depot so that lead time is reduced for critical systems to mission and lead to increased availability of aircraft for operational use. This would allow the IAF to support the fleet more effectively and efficiently due to the availability of repair infrastructure at the respective bases.
The indigenous Tejas fighter plane was praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech last year. The initial version of LCA has already joined the Air Force. While the first squadron of aircraft is on the initial operational clearance version, the second 18 Squadron “ Flying Bullets ” is on the final operational clearance version and has been operationalized by the IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria at Sulur air base on May 27. year.
The deal for the 83 LCA Mark1A aircraft was made possible by the efforts of then Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar when he obtained the specifications approved by the Defense Acquisition Board.
(With ANI inputs)