First-ever Tejas crash: Indian Air Force fighter down in Rajasthan

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A HAL Tejas fighter jet belonging to the Indian Air Force crashed in Rajasthan, western India. This marks the first such incident since its induction nearly eight years ago.  

The aircraft was on an operational training sortie when it crashed near the city of Jaisalmer, close to the border with Pakistan. It was not specified whether the aircraft belonged to Jaisalmer Air Force Station. The Indian Air Force confirmed in an official statement that the pilot ejected safely.  

The LCA Tejas is a light 4+ generation fighter equipped with an AESA radar, BVR missiles, and an electronic warfare suite. It is powered by a single General Electric F404 turbofan engine, also used in the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Classic Hornet. 

Designed and built by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), it is the first fighter jet to be developed in India since the HAL Marut in the 1960s. The Tejas made its maiden flight on January 4, 2001. The delivery of the first squadron to the Indian Air Force started in January 2015, before its official entry into service a year later. 

The Indian government awarded the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) a $6 billion contract in 2021 to procure 83 Tejas jets. In September 2022, the Modi administration gave the green light to an upgraded version of the Tejas jet, the Tejas Mk2. The project has a $1.25 billion budget and includes an extended fuselage with a bigger fuel capacity, additional canards for improved maneuverability, and a more powerful General Electric F414 engine. 

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