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Tejas fighters in UAE for first overseas exercise

The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, manufactured in India, will make its maiden appearance in an international exercise as part of the Indian Air Force team at a multinational exercise in the UAE.

The IAF in a statement on Saturday said, “An Indian Air Force contingent comprising 110 Air Warriors has arrived at Al Dhafra air base of United Arab Emirates for participating in exercise Desert Flag VIII. The IAF would be participating with five LCA Tejas and two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.”

Adding that this is the first occasion when the LCA Tejas shall participate in an international flying exercise outside India, the IAF pointed that, “The aim of the exercise is to participate in diverse fighter engagements and learn from the best practices of various Air Forces.”

Exercise Desert Flag is a multilateral air exercise in which Air Forces from UAE, France, Kuwait, Australia, the UK, Bahrain, Morocco, Spain, the Republic of Korea, and the USA would also be participating. It was in February 2022 that India had planned to pitch LCA Tejas to join an exercise called ‘Ex Cobra Warrior 22’ at Waddington, UK, from March 6-27. But it had to be cancelled due to the events of the time including the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Before that, in February 2022, the IAF showcased Tejas jets at the Singapore AirShow with an eye on the possible export potential of the jet to friendly countries in years to come. Three Tejas fighter jets and a 44-member contingent of the Indian Air Force (IAF) had participated in the Air Show from February 15 to 18.
Manufactured by state-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the Tejas aircraft is a potent platform for air combat and offensive air support missions while reconnaissance and anti-ship operations are its secondary roles.

Aircraft manufacturing company HAL terms LCA Tejas as a 4.5 generation, all-weather and multi-role fighter aircraft. “The aircraft is designed to be a multi-role aircraft capable of taking up offensive air support, close combat and ground attack roles at ease. It is also designed to undertake Ground Maritime Operations.”

As per the HAL, there are different variants of aircraft under production and development which includes Single seater fighter for the Air Force, Single seater fighter for the Navy, Twin Seater trainer aircraft for the Air Force and Twin Seater trainer version for the Navy.

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