First Indian Tejas Mark 1A Fighter Takes Flight

United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.

More From Me

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has announced that the Tejas Mark 1A fighter has made its maiden flight today lasting 15 minutes out of Bengaluru. The Mark 1A is India’s bid for an enhanced fourth generation fighter replacement for its obsolete fleet of MiG-21s which were phased out in 2016 by the Tejas Mark 1.

Tejas Developmental History 

The Tejas program achieved initial operational clearance in 2011 and final operational clearance in 2019. The first Tejas squadron became operational in 2016, as No. 45 Squadron IAF Flying Daggerswas was the first to have their MiG-21s replaced with the Tejas.

The first Limited Series Production (LSP) aircraft of the Mark 1A variant was delivered in April 2022, as a Flying Testbed (FTB). A second LSP rolled out in late 2022, and was used to validate several changes to the airframe concerning weight distribution.

In December 2023, plans were revealed to deploy the first batch of Tejas Mk 1A in the Nal airbase in Bikaner, Rajasthan.

By September 2023 the Indian Airforce had ordered around 97 more Mark 1A fighter jets, then an additional 97 Tejas from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category.

Tejas Lineup

In the Tejas lineup there are three variants: the Mark 1, the Trainer, and the developing Mark 1A. The difference between the Mark 1 and Mark 1A is that the Mark 1A is equipped with EL/M-2052 and Uttam AESA radar, self-protection jammer, radar warning receiver, as well as being able to mount an external ECM pod.