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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Final operational clearance for Tejas again delayed till next year

Tejas LCAAt a time when Pakistan has already clinched the first export order for its JF-17 'Thunder' fighter built with China's help, India's home-grown light combat aircraft Tejas will take yet another year to become fully combat-ready.

What is even more worrying is that the critically-required Tejas Mark-II, with a more powerful engine, is likely to need a strong infusion of foreign collaboration if the first prototype has to take to the skies by 2018-19 as per already much-revised deadlines. "Tejas Mark-II is still on the drawing board, with only the preliminary design review being completed till now. The critical design review is far off," said a source.

This has triggered a major worry since IAF is down to just 35 fighter squadrons when at least 44 are needed to handle a "collusive threat" from Pakistan and China.

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