PM Modi Takes Historic Sortie In Tejas Fighter Aircraft Proving India's Defence Prowess
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today took a sortie in Tejas showing the world the capabilities of India's defence prowess. PM Modi shared the photos on X saying that the flight experience was incredibly enriching. Earlier in April this year, President Droupadi Murmu had taken a sortie in a Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter aircraft. Under Modi Government, an order worth Rs 36,468 Crore for delivery of 83 LCA Mk 1A aircraft has been placed with HAL and delivery is scheduled to begin by February 2024. More than Rs 9,000 Crore have been sanctioned for the development of LCA Mk 2, an updated and more lethal version of LCA Tejas.
'Sense Of Pride'
"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," said PM Modi.
'India No Less Than Anyone'
PM Modi also said that flying in Tejas filled him with immense pride and showed that India is no less than anyone in the world in the field of self-reliance. "Heartiest congratulations to the Indian Air Force, DRDO and HAL as well as all Indians," said PM Modi.
Seven Years In Service
The indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) completed seven years of service in the Indian Air Force in July this year. Christened Tejas in 2003, the aircraft is a multi- role platform that ranks amongst the best in its class. It has been designed to undertake the Air Defence, Maritime Reconnaissance and Strike roles. The inherently unstable Tejas offers carefree handling and enhanced manoeuvrability. This capability is further enhanced with its Multi-Mode Airborne radar, Helmet Mounted Display, Self-protection suite and Laser Designation Pod.
Part Of IAF Squadron
The first IAF Squadron to induct the Tejas was No 45 Squadron, the 'Flying Daggers'. Over the years, the squadron progressed from Vampires to Gnats and then onto the MiG-21 Bis, before being equipped with its current steed. Each of the aircraft flown by the Flying Daggers has been manufactured in India - either under license production or having been designed and developed in India. In May 2020, No 18 Squadron became the second IAF unit to operate the Tejas.
The IAF has showcased India's indigenous aerospace capabilities by displaying the aircraft at various international events, including LIMA-2019 at Malaysia, Dubai Air Show-2021, Sri Lanka Air Force anniversary celebrations in 2021, Singapore Air Show- 2022 and Aero India Shows from 2017 to 2023. Whilst it had already participated in exercises with foreign air forces domestically, Ex-Desert Flag in the United Arab Emirates in March 2023 was the Tejas' maiden exercise on foreign soil.
The confidence that the IAF reposes in the Tejas is borne by its order for 83 LCA Mk-1A which will have updated avionics, as well as an Active Electronically Steered Radar, updated Electronic Warfare suite and a Beyond Visual Range missile capability. The new variant will be capable of firing a plethora of weapons from increased stand-off ranges. Many of these weapons will be of indigenous origin. The LCA MK-1A will see a substantial increase in the overall indigenous content of the aircraft. Contracted deliveries of the aircraft are expected to commence in February 2024. In the years to come, the LCA and its future variants will form the mainstay of the Indian Air Force.