IAF’s LCA Tejas Encounters First Crash; Pilot Safe, Inquiry Underway

Tejas Encounters First Crash

Jaisalmer: In a concerning development, the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas experienced its first accident since its induction. The incident occurred near a hostel in Jaisalmer’s Jawahar colony, Rajasthan, during an operational training sortie on Tuesday. The pilot managed to eject safely before the crash and was promptly taken to the hospital by residents. Fortunately, no other casualties have been reported from the scene, and firefighting efforts were initiated immediately.

The IAF has ordered a Court of Inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident. This event marks the first crash involving the indigenously developed LCA Tejas, which has been a symbol of India’s growing self-reliance in defense technology. The Tejas fleet has been operational without incident for over two decades, making this a rare and unfortunate mishap.

In a separate but related incident last week, a female pilot sustained injuries when a trainer aircraft from a flight training academy crashed at Madhya Pradesh’s Guna aerodrome. The aircraft, en route from Neemuch to Dhana, reportedly suffered a malfunction that led to an emergency landing and subsequent loss of control, according to Sub Inspector Chanchal Tiwari of Guna.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia expressed his concerns over the crash on the microblogging site X, stating, “Worrying news has been received about the crash of a trainee aircraft flying on Neemuch-Dhana-Guna sector at Guna Air Strip. The female trainee pilot is undergoing treatment in the hospital. The reasons for the accident are being investigated. I pray to God for the health of the pilot.”

The LCA Tejas has been a critical asset to the IAF, with the central government placing a significant order of Rs 36,468 crore for 83 LCA Mk 1A Tejas aircraft with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) last year. The delivery of these aircraft is scheduled to begin by February 2024, marking a major milestone in the enhancement of India’s defense capabilities.

Tejas Encounters First Crash

The Tejas is not only a testament to India’s engineering prowess but also a key component of the IAF’s modernization efforts. As the IAF awaits the delivery of the new Mk 1A variant, which promises updated avionics and improved combat capabilities, the focus remains on ensuring the safety and reliability of its current fleet