LCA) is likely to be ready for delivery by next month and work on an even more capable version is underway, with production likely to commence by 2027, senior defence officials have told ET.
The LCA Mk1A, which was cleared for procurement by the Centre in 2021, will add the much-needed numbers to the fighter jet strength of the Air Force and is much more capable than the earlier version, as it is equipped with new age radars, electronic warfare systems and mid-air refuelling features.
Officials said that the project is on track to meet the deadlines and the first of the 83 LCA Mk1A jets on order is likely to be ready by next month. By August this year, at least four of the jets are likely to be delivered. Production could taper down next year as there have been some delays in deliveries of engines for the jets but efforts are being made to minimise the gap.
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Besides the 83 aircraft on order, the government is also processing a case to acquire an additional 97 of the jets, which will require a significant scaling up of the production rate. As of now, the country has the capability to produce eight fighter jets a year, which is being scaled up to 16 a year. Plans are in place to scale this up further to 24 LCA Mk1A fighter jets annually.
Sources said that the broad plan is to complete all deliveries of the Mk1A at the shortest possible time to ensure that production capacity is available for the next version — the LCA Mk2. This version will be powered by more capable engines — the GE 414 — which will also be