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UAE Shows Keen Interest in India's Homegrown Fighter Jet Tejas

© AP Photo / Aijaz RahiTejas, an Indian Air Force light combat aircraft (File)
Tejas, an Indian Air Force light combat aircraft (File) - Sputnik International
Tejas has around 50% locally developed content, while the engines are American, radar, helmet display and laser pod of Israeli make and Russia has supplied the missiles.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has shown a keen interest in Tejas — India's home-grown, low cost and simple design fighter jet developed by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). 

Mohammed Ahmed Al Bawardi Al Falacy, the UAE's minister of state for defense affairs, on Wednesday, visited HAL facilities in Bengaluru and received a briefing of the ongoing projects in HAL. He was taken around the Helicopter Complex, LCA Tejas Division and Hawk final assembly hangar.  

"I am happy to be here and proud to see the sophisticated level of manufacturing that is in place", Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi Al Falacy remarked. 

"He evinced keen interest in LCA Tejas," HAL said releasing a statement. 

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The UAE minister also visited the Indian Air Force's Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), which conducts flight testing of aircraft, airborne systems and weapon stores, prior to their induction.

Last month, the long-delayed Tejas program successfully demonstrated its air-to-air refueling capability during a trial involving an Ilyushin Il-78MKI tanker.

The successful refueling test was described as a big leap in the developmental stage and brightened the chances of the fighter jet getting a final operational clearance certificate sooner. 

However, despite claiming recent successes, such as the integration of I-Derby beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile and other avionics, Tejas is running far behind schedule to secure final operational clearance from the Indian Air Force in December this year. 

READ MORE: India to Fulfill Most of Its Fighter Jet Shortfall With Home-Grown Tejas

Currently, the HAL is working on an order of 123 such jets ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF), which is mulling an additional purchase of the advanced version of the aircraft. 

Singapore, Egypt, and Sri Lanka had earlier shown interest in the jet, but they never revealed the status, officially, of such interest. The low cost and simple design of Tejas make it attractive for cost-conscious countries in Asia.

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