India’s LCA Tejas Mk1A successfully completed its first flight

Tejas Mk 1A  successfully completed its first flight with new advanced technology.  Earlier it was reported that Tejas mk1A will take its first flight by the middle of this year.

On July 1st HAL experimental test pilot Harsh Vardhan Thakur confirmed that LCA Tejas upgraded variant Tejas MK1A completed its first flight. In his tweet, he shared a photo of a box of sweets that were shared after the first flight in Hindustan Aeronautics in response to media reports that the first flight of the Tejas Mk 1A Flying Test Bed (FTB) has been slightly delayed.

However, there are still no official announcements on this done by any responsible organization. Earlier R. Madhavan, Chief Managing Director, HAL inform that LCA MK-1A, with specific enhancements, will take flight by middle of this year. And seems like HAL is working on a strict deadline.

According to him Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) expects to deliver all Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) variant to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2022.

“We will be attempting at least 6-8 aircraft (LCA) this year. All 10 aircraft are already ready, there are some systems to be delivered from Israel. If that happens in time, we can deliver all 10,” Mr. Madhavan told The Hindu talking of the hectic calendar HAL has for this year. “By June this year we should start flying the LCA MK-1A configuration. Once flying starts, we have about 20 to 24 months of testing. Once that is done, we will be ready for deliveries as expected.”

Last February the Defence Ministry had signed a ₹48,000 crore deal with HAL to supply 83 LCA MK-1A to the IAF. HAL will be delivering the first three aircraft in 2024 and 16 aircraft per year for subsequent five years, the Defence Ministry had stated earlier.

About Tejas MK1A

There are minor changes on structure design in Tejas mk1A compare Tejas mk1 (FOC) version Presently.  Mark 1A variant of the LCA will come with around 40 major and minor improvements over Mark 1.

The entire Tejas Mk1, Mk1A and Mk2 i.e. MWF fleet will be equipped with General Electric F404 and F414 series engines.  The Kaveri programme has as such failed to deliver a viable domestic engine that can meet the thrust requirements of even the Mk1.

The Tejas Mk1A will get a new Israeli Elta 2052 airborne active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with more than 150 km range. The Elta 2052 has been designed for air superiority and advanced surface and naval strike missions. This radar can track up to 64 targets simultaneously at longer ranges than contemporary Pakistani and Chinese fighters. This radar enables Tejas Mk1A to simultaneously target multiple enemy fighters in combat engagements. In air-to-surface and naval missions, it provides long-range target detection, tracking, classification, and engagement.

The aircraft has also been equipped with advanced autopilot capabilities like auto-level (in case of pilot disorientation), safe altitude recovery (which automatically pulls up the aircraft if it comes too close to the ground) and auto navigation modes. It also equipped with Instrument Landing System (ILS) and tactical air navigation system (TACAN), will allow the pilot to concentrate on “head-down” mission-critical requirements rather than worry about basic flying.

Tejas MK-1A will get more teeth compared with the earlier version of TEJAS.

Tejas MkIA carries an impressive array of weapons. For air superiority missions, Tejas MkIA is armed with cutting edge Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles like-

  • Russian R-77 missiles with 110 km range,
  • Israeli I-Derby ER missiles with 100 km range
  • Indian Astra series missiles 80-150 KM range

For ground attacks, Tejas MkIA can be armed with all European, Russian, and Indian laser-guided weapons including ORDO SLAW anti-airfield weapons. For naval missions, Tejas MkIA will be armed with BrahMos NG anti-ship missile with a 290 km range which is the deadliest anti-ship missile in the world.

New EW suite for Tejas. The unified electronic warfare suite (UEWS) will provide capabilities for electronic countermeasures (ECM) and ECCM (electronic counter-countermeasures), with an extended band of operation for threat detection and jamming capability.


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