In a major boost to indigenous defence technologies, at least 51% of the 123 LCA Tejas fighters that will be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) will have the desi Uttam radar, replacing Israeli radars that the first batch of aircraft will be equipped with.
In all, IAF will get 123 Tejas fighters: 40 in initial and final operational clearance (IOC and FOC) configurations and 83 Tejas Mark-1A, orders for which were placed in the first week of February. While the first 40 will have mechanical radars (all Israeli), 83 Mk-1A planes will have Active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.
“We will have the Uttam radar from the 21st Tejas Mk-1A to be produced. Uttam has performed better than anticipated in the trials so far. We’ve already signed an MoU with HAL,” DRDO chairman Sateesh Reddy told TOI.
This means 63 of the 83 will be indigenous Uttam radars developed by LRDE (Electronics and Radar Development Establishment), a DRDO lab in Bengaluru. The TOI had reported in 2019 that Uttam radars were likely to replace the AESA radars — the EL/M 2052 — from Israeli firm ELTA.
This is in line with the Centre’s push for increasing indigenous content in defence equipment and will enable HAL to increase the same on Tejas from the present 52%.
R Madhavan, CMD, HAL, which is producing Tejas, said: “…That is what we are panning for. Given the delivery timelines we’ve committed to, we will place orders for 20 Israeli radars and Uttam should be ready thereafter.