First of India's Tejas aircraft ready in 2010

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India will induct two squadrons of its long-delayed Tejas light combat aircraft into service from 2010, and could add a further four such units if its first batch of aircraft impresses in operations.

The Aeronautical Development Agency system had been due to enter air force service early this decade, but design and performance issues and problems with the development of its indigenous Gas Turbine Research Establishment Kaveri engine have caused lengthy delays.

"There were hitches in the past, but the tests that we have been doing over the last few months indicate that those have been resolved," says chief of air staff Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major. "The programme was streamlined and it is a much better aircraft now. We are confident that it can serve our needs."

Once available for operational service, the Tejas will replace some of India's ageing fighters, such as the Mikoyan MiG-21.