IAF To Order More Tejas Mk-1s
The Indian Air Force is processing a contract for 20 additional limited series Tejas Mk-1 light fighters — the ones powered by the underpowered GE F-404-IN20. This will be in addition to the 20 already contracted for a few years ago. While base infrastructure is coming up expeditiously at Sulur, first Tejas deliveries to the IAF will be based at the Bangalore-based Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment (ASTE) for upto a year or more to iron out induction-related troubles. Once the IAF is satisfied that the fighters are well-supported, and all potential issues with HAL are sorted out, the aircraft will be shifted to Sulur. It has emerged that the IAF may choose to either base the second Tejas squadron also at Sulur, or even at nearby Kayathar, where it is in the process of building up a brand new air base. The Tejas is scheduled to achieve initial operational clearance/capability (IOC) in December this year, with the first squadron inducted by next year.