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HAL delays delivery of first Tejas Mk 1A to mid-2024

The first production Tejas Mk 1A takes off from the HAL airport in Bangalore on 28 March 2024. (HAL)

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has test-flown its first production Tejas Mk 1A Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). However, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is unlikely to get the aircraft until mid-2024, an industry source told Janes .

According to HAL, the first production aircraft, serial no LA-5033, conducted an 18-minute successful sortie from the HAL airport in Bengaluru on 28 March. HAL intended to deliver at least one Tejas Mk 1A to the IAF by February 2024, a deadline that was subsequently moved up to 31 March. Janes understands that the handover of LA-5033 to the IAF could possibly require at least two additional months.

An industry source told Janes that the delay in delivery is because of ongoing “disruptions in the supply chain” for the programme.

The chairman and managing director (CMD) of HAL, C B Ananthakrishnan, acknowledged in a press statement on 28 March that the “concurrent design and development” of the Mk 1A was conducted “amid major supply chain challenges in the global geopolitical environment subsequent to the contract signature in … 2021”.

Janes understands that the conflicts in Europe and the Middle East have delayed the arrival of some components and equipment for the Mk 1A programme from Israel, Russia, and Ukraine.

“The supply chain disruption no longer affects LA-5033, which is operational and flying. However, it affects other production aircraft in the programme. Delivery of LA-5033 to the IAF requires two more months as the aircraft now has to complete additional flight-testing and certification,” the source said.

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