India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) fighter programme has had a long and chequered history. The process from first flight of a technology demonstrator to service entry, in July 2016, took 15 years. The “Tejas” received government approval in 2016 for another 83 airplanes specified to the Mk1A standard, adding to 40 earlier orders for the Mk1 version. But the programme received a public rebuke recently, when the new chief admiral Sunil Lanba said the LCA Navy version does not meet requirements, and the service wants a new carrier-borne fighter by 2021-2022.
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