The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, conducted a comprehensive review of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme at Air Headquarters yesterday. Attending the review were senior officials from the Ministry of Defence, DRDO, HAL, and ADA. The CAS highlighted that the LCA has significantly contributed to the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) endeavor to enhance indigenous capabilities in its aircraft fleet. Emphasizing the national importance of the project, he stressed the need for all stakeholders to collaboratively ensure its success. The LCA programme exemplifies the essence of the Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) and Make in India initiatives, epitomizing the nation’s self-sufficiency in the aerospace domain.
During the review, it was revealed that all contracted fighter variants of the LCA Mk 1 have been successfully delivered to the IAF. HAL representatives assured the CAS of timely delivery of the contracted twin-seater variants in the upcoming months. In addition to the LCA Mk 1, the IAF contracted 83 LCA Mk-1A aircraft in 2021. The Chairman & Managing Director of HAL affirmed that deliveries of this advanced LCA variant are scheduled to commence by February 2024.
Appreciating HAL’s efforts, the CAS indicated that, based on these assurances, the LCA Mk 1A could be introduced into a newly established squadron at one of the IAF’s operational bases in early 2024. Despite acknowledging project delays noted during the review, the CAS commended the dedication of all stakeholders. He emphasized the significance of integrating lessons learned from the LCA programme into future indigenous design and developmental projects. With the anticipated timely delivery of the enhanced LCA Mk 1A variant, its deployment at forward bases is expected to increase, along with participation in international exercises in the foreseeable future.