India aims to deploy a fleet of indigenous light combat aircraft by 2010 to help phase out the current fleet of Russian fighter jets.

Five LCAs worth about $31m each have already been built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and are undergoing trials. Another eight are expected to enter into service by mid-2010, Reuters reports.

Indian Air Force spokesperson wing commander TK Singha said that 2012 is the key for their air force when they will not only have many LCAs, but by then we should also be able to induct more advanced multirole fighters in the fleet.

20 LCAs will be deployed by 2012 and 20 more will be built in concert with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).