scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Monday, November 29, 2021

Defence council finalises proposal for 83 Tejas jets

HAL is expected to deliver the first LCA Mk-1A to the IAF three years after the deal is signed.

Written by Sushant Singh , Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi |
March 19, 2020 1:44:37 am
Tejas, Tejas jets, Defence Acquisition Council, Rajnath Singh, Tejas procurement, Tejas Mk-1A Light Combat Aircraft, Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, LCA tejas, indian express Production will start by 2023 and a full squadron delivered by 2025 if a contract is signed soon. The delivery of 83 aircraft is expected to be complete by 2029.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has paved the way for procurement of 83 Tejas Mk-1A Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bengaluru, by finalising contractual and other issues related to the biggest deal for the indigenous combat aviation industry — charting a path for the Indian Air Force (IAF) of the future. The proposal now awaits the Cabinet’s nod.

HAL is expected to deliver the first LCA Mk-1A to the IAF three years after the deal is signed. Production will start by 2023 and a full squadron delivered by 2025 if a contract is signed soon. The delivery of 83 aircraft is expected to be complete by 2029.

The order is crucial for maintaining the strength of fighter squadrons in the IAF which is down to 30 against an authorised 42 squadrons. Even if these Tejas Mk-1A supplies happen on time, IAF will be left with an alarmingly low 26 squadrons by 2021, rising to 30 by 2027. The IAF last had 42 fighter squadrons in 2002 — each squadron generally has 18 aircraft.

The proposal, worth Rs 38,000 crore, will now be placed for consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The DAC had approved the procurement of 83 Tejas jets in November 2016, and one year later, the Indian Air Force had also issued a single-vendor tender to HAL in December 2017.

It had been pending for over two years over cost negotiations, with HAL initially asking for around Rs 50,000 crore for the 83 indigenous fighters.

IAF had objected to the high price cited by HAL, arguing that it was asking for Rs 463 crore for each Tejas Mk-1A whereas it supplies the more modern Russian Sukhoi fighter jet at Rs 415 crore per aircraft. The price was also around Rs 100 crore more than the earlier version of Tejas, leading to prolonged and often acrimonious negotiations between IAF and HAL.

The order for 83 Tejas Mk-1A is seen to be critical for the HAL to prevent a complete halt of production at its facilities. As per current contracts, HAL’s order books will run out beyond 2021-22 and this order will allow the public sector facility to continue its production.

With the induction of 83 aircraft, IAF will have a total of 123 Tejas fighter jets, making up six of its squadrons.

The IAF had placed an order for 20 Tejas fighters in the Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) configuration on HAL, 16 of which have been inducted in the No. 45 squadron of the IAF, starting July 2016. The next order placed by the IAF is for 20 fighters in Final Operation Clearance (FOC), which underwent test flying on Tuesday for the first time in Bengaluru.

This procurement is seen as a major boost to ‘Make in India’ as the aircraft is indigenously designed, developed and manufactured with participation of several local vendors apart from HAL.

The Tejas indigenous fighter project was first conceived in 1984, benchmarked against the Mirage-2000, with a view to replace IAF’s ageing Mig21 fleet. The order for first 20 Tejas Mark1 (IOC) was placed in 2006, and the jet inducted in the IAF in 2016.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement