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Multilateral Exercise Desert Flag VIII

Published: 3rd Mar, 2023


Five indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) along with a contingent of 110 Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel arrived at Al Dahfra airbase of United Arab Emirates (UAE) for participating in the multilateral Exercise Desert Flag VIII.


  • In 2021, the defence ministry awarded a ?48,000-crore contract to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for 83 LCA Mk-1A jets for the IAF.
  • The first Mk-1A aircraft will be delivered in February 2024, with the rest slated to join the combat fleet by 2029.
  • The government gave its nod for developing the LCA Mk-2, a platform that will form an important element of future air combat.

About the exercise:

  • Exercise Desert Flag is a multilateral air exercise in which Air Forces from UAE, France, Kuwait, Australia, UK, Bahrain, Morocco, Spain, Republic of Korea, and USA would also be participating.
  • The exercise is scheduled from February 27 to March 17.
  • Aim: To participate in diverse fighter engagements and learn from the best practices of various Air Forces.

This is the first occasion for the LCA Tejas to participate in an international flying exercise outside India

Light Combat Aircraft:

  • The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme was started by the Government of India in 1984 when they established the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) to manage the LCA programme.
  • It replaced the ageing Mig 21 fighter planes.
  • Designed by:
    • Aeronautical Development Agency under the Department of Defence Research and Development.
  • Manufactured by: State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
  • Features:
    • The lightest, smallest and tailless multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft in its class.
    • Designed to carry a range of air-to-air, air-to-surface, precision-guided, weapons.
    • Air to air refuelling capability.
    • Maximum payload capacity of 4000 kg.
    • It can attend the maximum speed of Mach 1.8.
    • The range of the aircraft is 3,000km

Variants of Tejas:

  • Tejas Trainer: 2-seater operational conversion trainer for training air force pilots.
  • LCA Navy: Twin- and single-seat carrier-capable for the Indian Navy.
  • LCA Tejas Navy MK2: This is phase 2 of the LCA Navy variant.
  • LCA Tejas Mk-1A: This is an improvement over the LCA Tejas Mk1 with a higher thrust engine.

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