Fund injection for extra 97 Tejas aircraft boosts IAF’s air power

The Indian Air Force [IAF] anticipates the fund approval of an additional 97 Tejas fighter jets. At the same time, New Delhi stands on the brink of allocating funds to three major defense projects: a new aircraft carrier, 156 Prachand light combat helicopters, and 97 combat aircraft. 

India boosts its fleet with 97 extra delta-wing fighter jets
Photo credit: Twitter

It’s projected that all three initiatives will receive approval by the end of this month. The Defense Acquisition Council, scheduled to convene on November 30, is poised to examine and approve both the projects and their associated funding. Following this decision, tender procedures will be initiated. Judging by the current circumstances, it seems that these funds will be directed towards bolstering the domestic defense industry. 

These critical projects aim to boost India’s military readiness in the face of China’s growing capabilities. They encompass the addition of 97 Tejas Mark-1A fighter jets, the manufacturing of a second indigenous aircraft carrier [IAC-2], and the procurement of 156 Prachand Helicopters. 

India gets Prachand: a domestic light helo armed with Mistral AAMs
Photo credit: Twitter

These 97 Tejas fighter jets will be in the form of the Mk1A variant. BulgarianMilitary.com had reported the likely nature of this deal back in October, though it was largely conjecture based on local insights at the time. 

At present, India’s only previous Tejas aircraft order traces back several years when it requested 83 units. With this new order, India is on track to possess a fleet of 180 Tejas Mk1 fighter jets by the close of the decade. Hindustan Aeronautics is further expected to develop the Mk.2 version and it is anticipated that New Delhi will place an additional order for this upgraded model.

Mk1A upgrade

The enhanced Mark 1A version of the aircraft retains the basic design of the original Mark 1, yet introduces a sophisticated, state-of-the-art avionics suite. Underpinned by the EL/M-2052 AESA Radar and Uttam AESA Radar, this suite is the foundation of the plane’s innovative attributes. 

A range of critical features comprise the jet’s weaponry. These include the DARE Unified Electronic Warfare Suite [UEWS] and an externally fitted self-protection jammer [SPJ], both of which significantly enhance survival prospects in combat. Additionally, the incorporation of instrument flight rules [IFR] expands the plane’s operational ability across a wider array of flight conditions. 

An innovative feature of the improved Tejas Mk1A is an onboard oxygen generation system [OBOGS]. Developed by the Defense Bioengineering and Electromedical Laboratory [DEBEL], this system increases endurance and enhances the aircraft’s operational validity. Furthermore, the aircraft packs a punch with increased firepower owing to an expanded weapon assembly that includes the Astra BVRAAM and ASRAAM. 

Tejas - India is trying to 'screw up' the sale of US F-16s to Argentina
Photo credit: Indian MoD

Armed with a Combined Interrogator and Transponder [CIT] created in-house by HAL, as well as a digital map generator provided by the Mission and Combat Systems R&D Centre, the aircraft boasts top-notch navigational capacity. These features not only enable relay of crucial mission maps directly to the cockpit display, but also introduce an upgraded friend or foe identification system, surpassing the previous model. 

Emphasizing user-friendly design, even the cockpit floor has been reinvented for maximum comfort and effectiveness. Significantly, the revamped Tejas Mark 1A has a remarkably reduced turnaround time, cementing its dominant role in contemporary military aviation.

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