The complex geo-political nature of South Asia and its surroundings has resulted in major conflicts in the region in the past. From the very beginning after the birth of the nation, India has faced serious military threats. History has taught us that there is a compulsion to achieve self-reliance in design, development and production of critical weapon systems to guard the sovereignty of our country.

The LCA programme was launched in the early eighties for two primary purposes. The principal and most obvious goal was the development of a replacement aircraft for India's ageing MiG-21 fighters. The MiG-21 had been the mainstay of the Indian Air Force since the 1970s. The other main objective was to give an impetus for an across-the-board advancement of India's domestic aviation capability.