HAL To Deliver The First Production Tejas Mk-1A Fighter Jet This July

Ujjwal Shrotryia

May 17, 2024, 01:04 PM | Updated 01:03 PM IST

Tejas Mk-1 jet carrying 'Made-in-India' Astra Mk-1 missile. (X/@Praneethfrank)
Tejas Mk-1 jet carrying 'Made-in-India' Astra Mk-1 missile. (X/@Praneethfrank)

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will deliver the first production Tejas Mk-1A fighter jet to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in July 2024. Tejas is a made-in-India multi-role light fighter jet.

Two months ago, (in March 2024), the first production Tejas Mk-1A took its first flight. The first jet was supposed to be delivered to the IAF in March itself, but its delivery got delayed due to supply chain issues and some key pending certifications.

This delivery is for the contract signed in 2021 worth Rs 48,000 crore to supply 83 Tejas Mk-1A jets for the IAF.

IAF already operates 40 Tejas Mk-1 jets (older variant of Tejas Mk-1A), which includes 32 single-seater and eight double-seater jets.

Tejas Mk-1A is an upgraded variant of the older Tejas Mk-1, which includes several upgrades such as a new radar, a new digital computer, better avionics and serviceability, and newer and more capable weapons.

IAF is looking to buy 97 more Tejas Mk-1A fighter jets worth around Rs 67,000 crores. HAL, which until now could annually manufacture 16 fighter jets from its Bengaluru plant, has to ramp up production to meet the additional orders.

It inaugurated another facility in Nashik that can manufacture an additional eight jets annually, taking the total production capacity to 24 jets.

However, the delay in the delivery of the first jet does not instil confidence in HAL's capacity to meet production schedules. To this end, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) instructed HAL to deliver 18 Tejas jets by March 2025.

The on-time delivery of Tejas is very critical for IAF, whose depleting fighter squadron strength is only set to get weaker as the remaining MiG-21 squadrons retire from service. Therefore, it is imperative that HAL meets its production target, lest the IAF is forced to make do with vintage jets like the Jaguar fighter-bomber.

Staff Writer at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.


Can the party undo the mistakes of 2024 before 2027 assembly elections?