Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Wednesday reviewed the performance of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). He is learnt to have taken a stock of the progress made on the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, besides other issues. This assumes importance as he has consistently advocated the production of LCAs to supplement the Rafale fighter jets.
This was Parrikar’s third meeting with HAL since he took over as Defence Minister. A capability augmentation review of HAL in light of IAF’s rotary wing requirements as well as in line with the government’s ‘Make In India’ initiative is learnt to have taken place during the meeting.
“The team led by HAL chairman T Suvarna Raju made a presentation to the Defence Minister. LCA prominently figured in the discussion. A capability assessment of HAL was done in light of IAF requirements which has been banking upon the LCA programme as an addition to the Rafale fighter jets. Other projects such as Light Combat Helicopter, Light Utility Helicopter were also discussed,” a source from the ministry said. In April, PM Narendra Modi had announced plans to buy 36 Rafale jets from France, instead of earlier plans to acquire 126 such aircraft. Parrikar has said the gap can be met with LCA which fits the government’s Make in India initiative.