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August 19, 2020

India deploys Tejas aircraft on western front amid border tensions

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas on the western front.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas on the western front.

According to news agency ANI, the first squadron of the aircraft was moved to the western front from their home base in Sulur, Tamil Nadu.

The deployment comes after China reportedly deployed two J-20 stealth fighter jets at an airbase near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India.

However, the Chinese authorities did not confirm the deployment.

Notably, India and China are engaged in a military standoff in eastern Ladakh since May. The standoff led to occasional skirmishes, resulting in casualties on both sides.

A government source told the news agency: “The LCA Tejas was deployed by the Indian Air Force on the western front close to the Pakistan border to take care of any possible action by the adversary there.”

Following the border skirmishes with China, India has ramped up its presence near the border with forward airbases seeing extensive flying operations.

Recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the Tejas aircraft and said that the deal to acquire LCA Mk-1A advanced Tejas jets is likely to be completed soon.

The contract for 83 Tejas Mark 1A variant jets with Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) is expected to be finalised before the end of this year.

The $5.2bn order will include 73 fighter jets and ten two-seat trainer aircraft.

The Tejas Mark 1A variant jets will incorporate several improvements over the final operational clearance (FOC) configuration currently used by the IAF.

In May, IAF operationalised the second squadron of the Tejas LCA at Sulur airbase. The Number 18 Squadron was code-named Flying Bullets.

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