Indian Air Force LCA Tejas Crashes During Exercise; First Crash in 23 Years

An Indian Air Force (IAF) Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas jet aircraft crashed during a training flight near the town of Jaisalmer, located in Rajasthan state. The LCA was based out of Air Force Station Jaisalmer; however, there is no information regarding whether the jet belonged to a unit stationed at the base.

The crash occurred reportedly shortly after the jet took off on a training mission at the Pokhran “firing range” during the Bharat Shakti exercise. Several videos on social media show that the pilot ejected safely as the plane slowly descended until it crashed near a hostel.

While the crash caused some structural damage, local authorities reported that there were no casualties or “significant damage.”

The Indian government convened a Court of Inquiry to determine the cause of the incident. However, some videos indicate that the aircraft had some kind of engine malfunction, flight control issue, or other issue that may have led to the crash.

The crash is the first to occur in the 23 years that the LCA Tejas began flying and may raise some concerns since the IAF is set to introduce the Mk1A variant sometime this year.