Tejas to make international debut in tactical combat flying exercise in the UK - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Wednesday 23 February 2022

Tejas to make international debut in tactical combat flying exercise in the UK

 IAF's confidence in the Tejas is growing, as the indigenous fighter is fielded in an international exercise

By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 24th Feb 22


In a sign of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) growing confidence in the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA), the home-grown fighter is being fielded for the first time, in an international military exercise. While the Tejas has shown its aerobatic skills in flying displays in the past, this will be the first time the indigenous fighter will be participating in an international tactical exercise.


Five Tejas fighters will fly from the Sulur IAF base near Coimbatore, to Waddington, in the UK, for the joint India-UK exercise, named Exercise Cobra Warrior. An IAF C-17 Globemaster III heavy lift transporter will provide transport support for induction and de-induction.


The multi-nation air exercise is being conducted by the Royal Air Force (RAF) at Waddington from March 6 to 27. Participating alongside the Tejas LCA will be fighter aircraft of the RAF and other leading air forces.


“The exercise is aimed at providing operational exposure and sharing best practices amongst the participating air forces, thereby enhancing combat capability and forging bonds of friendship. This will be a platform for LCA Tejas to demonstrate its manoeuvrability and operational capability,” stated a Ministry of Defence (MoD) press release on Wednesday.


The Tejas fighter is currently being evaluated for purchase by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), as well as an unidentified West Asian country.


To facilitate export sales, the IAF has a been showcasing the Tejas’ performance by fielding the aircraft in global defence and aerospace exhibitions. It participated in the Singapore Airshow – 2022 from February 15-18.


Earlier, it flew aerobatic displays in the Bahrain International Air Show in 2016, the Langkawi International Maritime Aerospace Expo (LIMA) in 2019 and the Dubai Air Show-2021 last November. 


HAL officials say they would have preferred to offer customers the sophisticated Mark 1A version of the Tejas, which has mid-air refueling, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, electronic warfare (EW) capability and the ability to fire BVR missiles. However, with the Mark 1A version still being developed, HAL is offering the lesser Tejas Mark 1 instead.

1 comment:

  1. While this is a welcome devpt. it would breed more confidence in customers if the IAF was to station its two Tejas squadrons at frontline bases. Exactly which adversary are the two squadrons in Sulur addressing? the Sri Lankan Air Force?

    Also the HAL source quoted in the last para needs to be more precise in his argument. BVR with Derby, mid air refueling as well as a limited EW capability already exist in the Mk 1. Still struggling with marketing, our HAL friends.


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