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What is the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas?

Introduction
What is the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas?
  • Approved by the government in 1983, the Light Combat Aircraft created by the government's Defence Research and Development Organisation was intended to be the spine of the air force due for introduction in 1994.
  • However, there was a huge delay in making it from the scratch with a new engine (which was later scrapped).
  • So far, only one fully functional LCA has been developed.

Cost of the LCA project

Fact
Data

The Tejas LCA has cost DRDO approximately ₹7000 crore which is a miniscule amount compared to other similar aircrafts in the world.

Tejas to replace MIGs

5 Dec 2014
Tejas to replace MIGs
  • Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar informed that the Defence Research and Development Organisation was working on the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas Programme, but had been delayed and was running behind schedule.
  • He also informed the Lok Sabha that approximately 20-30 Tejas will be commissioned soon.
  • Tejas would be replacing the MIG fighters.
  • Further, he pointed that the government was negotiating 126 Rafale fighter-jets deal.

After 32 year wait, Tejas is finally here!

18 Jan 2015
After 32 year wait, Tejas is finally here!
  • Manohar Parrikar delivered the first of the "indigenously built" Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in Bengaluru to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • After a wait of almost 32 years, the LCA was finally handed over to the Air Force after completing the initial operational clearance-II, which meant that the Tejas was airworthy in various conditions.
  • 20 such LCAs will be built by 2017-18.

CAG slams Tejas, says unfit for Air Force

9 May 2015
CAG slams Tejas, says unfit for Air Force
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) came down strongly on India's Light Combat Aircraft Tejas plan.
  • CAG criticised the Mark-I version of Tejas by stating that it had almost 53 weaknesses and did "not meet Indian Air Force specifications."
  • It was also pointed out that a lack of a trainer model would adversely impact pilot training, thereby proving to be a constraint.

Anxiety within military circles

7 Oct 2015
Anxiety within military circles
  • The incorporation of India's struggling Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) came at a time at which the Indian air force seemed to be most exposed.
  • It is at its weakest operational force since the 1962 war against China.
  • The induction of Tejas was a necessity for Air Force to have the minimum number of aircraft that is a must for IAF.

Air force to make-do with obsolete Tejas

7 Oct 2015
Air force to make-do with obsolete Tejas
  • The government shot down Indian military's request for 36 fighter planes from Dassault Aviation SA and forced 32-years-old Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) on it.
  • Air force had also wanted an additional 44 Rafale aircrafts.
  • This decision of the government is in keeping with the 'Make in India' policy aims to encourage the use of Indian industry and lower India's reliance on foreign arms.