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Sunday, September 26, 2021

HAL to respond to Malaysia RfP for LCA Tejas in September

Malaysia has shown interest in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-1A and India stands a good chance in bagging the deal, Madhavan said.

Written by Aksheev Thakur | Bengaluru |
Updated: August 19, 2021 9:54:48 am
Tejas, HAL, LCA Tejas, Malaysia RpF, Royal Malaysian Air Force, Bengaluru news, world newsAn indigenous LCA Tejas at the Aero India show in Bengaluru. (Express Photo)

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a public sector aircraft company, will be bidding to sell 18 LCA Mk1 A fighter aircrafts to the Royal Malaysian Air Force in the light of Malaysian authorities showing interest in the indigenous fighter planes, HAL chairman R Madhavan said Wednesday.

HAL will respond to a Request for Proposal (RfP) from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) in the third week of September, the HAL chairman said. Malaysia has shown interest in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-1A and India stands a good chance in bagging the deal, Madhavan added.

“There are many countries which are showing interest in LCA Mk-1A. Malaysia has issued the RfP and we are responding to it. It has to be sent in the third week of September. We stand a very good chance. There are eight more contenders including US, China and Russia,” Madhavan said. Malaysia is looking at procuring 18 aircrafts with the probability of a follow up order of 18 more, he said.

“Regions which have exhibited interest in the LCA Mk- 1A are East Europe, South Asia, West Asia and South America. We see whether there is a demand from those countries and if they are trying to upgrade their Air Forces. Malaysia was in the process of upgrading their capabilities. We have been in business with them for the last two years,” the HAL chairman said.

The LCA Mk-1A is a fourth-generation fighter aircraft with an Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar, an Electronic Warfare (EW) suite, and is capable of air-to-air refuelling (AAR).

The main customer for HAL’s indigenous LCA Mk1A or Tejas fighter aircraft is at present the Indian Air Force. The IAF initially ordered 20 LCA Tejas jets in the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) phase of the aircraft and 20 more in the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) phase and has raised two squadrons with the aircraft.

In January this year, the IAF signed a Rs 48,000 crore-deal with HAL to buy 83 LCA-Tejas Mk1A aircrafts to be delivered over a period of nine years.

On Tuesday, HAL placed an order worth Rs 5,375 crore for 99 F404-GE-IN20 engines and support services with GE Aviation, USA to power the LCA. Madhavan said on Wednesday that work on the Tejas Mark II is progressing and ground trials will begin by December 2022.

The chairman stated that restrictions imposed during the lockdown in the second wave affected the supply chain of the company. “It is going to improve. We faced issues earlier due to restrictions on the movement of transport and people. The materials which have to come from abroad are also delayed because of the restrictions. However, this was until July. August is good,” Madhavan added.

The HAL chairman said the LCA stands a good chance of being bought by foreign air forces on account of fourth generation fighters still being relevant.

“You lose a lot of performance in terms of aerodynamics, and weapons cannot be mounted on a fifth generation aircraft if you want to have a small radar cross section. When you make fifth generation aircraft, the advantage is that it can penetrate the enemy defences, probably in the future, it may not be able to. Even the US is still ordering older aircrafts like F-15s,” Madhavan said.

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