Cabinet approves procurement of 83 LCA 'Tejas' aircraft for IAF
21 January 2021
The Cabinet Committee on Security on Wednesday approved procurement of 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircraft at a total cost of Rs45,696 crore along with associated design and development of infrastructure involving expenditure of Rs1,202 crore for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A variant is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft. This aircraft, equipped with critical operational capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile, Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite and Air to Air Refuelling (AAR), would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of IAF.
It is the first `Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)’ category procurement of combat aircraft with an indigenous content of 50 per cent, which will progressively reach 60 per cent by the end of the programme.
The cabinet also approved infrastructure development by IAF under the project to enable them handle repairs or servicing at their base depot so that the turnaround time would get reduced for mission critical systems and would lead to increased availability of aircraft for operations. This would enable IAF to sustain the fleet more efficiently and effectively due to availability of repair infrastructure at respective bases.
The Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan is helping to grow India’s power to indigenously design, develop and manufacture advanced cutting edge technologies and systems in the defence sector. The manufacturing of Light Combat Aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will give a further fillip to indigenous capabilities and boost defence production and development of the defence industry in the country.
"The LCA Tejas is going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in (the) years to come. LCA-Tejas incorporates a large number of new technologies, many of which were never attempted in India," defence minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, adding that the deal was a "game-changer for self-reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing".
He said the deal would also "considerably expand the current LCA ecosystem and help in creating new job opportunities", as well as changing the Indian aerospace manufacturing sector.
About 500 Indian companies, including MSMEs in the design and manufacturing sectors, will be working with HAL in this procurement. The programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant self-sustaining ecosystem, says a cabinet release.
Coimbatore-based No 45 squadron was the first to receive the home-made fighter jets. In May last year the Air Force operationalised its second squadron of home-made Tejas fighter jets, assigning them to its No 18 Squadron - the 'Flying Bullets' - based at Sulur near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. The squadron was equipped with the fourth-generation Tejas Mk-1A LCA aircraft.