New Delhi: In yet another significant boost to country’s indigenous defence manufacturing, the Government of India on Wednesday approved procurement of as many as 83 indigenously-developed light combat ‘Tejas’ aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF), Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed. As per the information available, the procurement of these combat jets would cost a sum of Rs 48,000 cr. ALSO READ | Delhi Schools Reopen: Govt Allows Schools To Reopen From January 18 For Classes 10, 12
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the day.
Terming the deal as ‘game-changer’ for self-reliance in defence manufacturing in India, Singh said that Tejas is going to be the backbone of the fighter fleet of the Indian Air Force in years to come.
“The CCS chaired by PM Sh. @narendramodi today approved the largest indigenous defence procurement deal worth about 48,000 crores to strengthen IAF’s fleet of homegrown fighter jet ‘LCA-Tejas’,” he tweeted.
The CCS chaired by PM Sh. @narendramodi today approved the largest indigenous defence procurement deal worth about 48000 Crores to strengthen IAF’s fleet of homegrown fighter jet ‘LCA-Tejas’. This deal will be a game changer for self reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) January 13, 2021
The Defence Minister said that aircraft maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has already set up second-line manufacturing facilities at its Nasik and Bengaluru divisions. “Equipped with the augmented infrastructure the HAL will steer LCA-Mk1A production for timely deliveries to the IAF,” he said.
Around three years back, the IAF had issued an initial tender for procurement of 83 Tejas aircraft, a four-and-half generation combat jet. Singh also said the Tejas programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant, self-sustaining one.
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As per reports, the LCA-Tejas incorporates a large number of new technologies many of which were never attempted in India. The indigenous content of LCA-Tejas is 50 per cent in the Mk1A variant which will be enhanced to 60 per cent.
The Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is indigenously designed by the Aircraft Development Agency (ADA) under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The manufacturing of 83 LCA Tejas jets will not only be a boost for ‘Make in India’ or self reliance but help in filling the gaps in the Indian Air Force as its current fleet is down to 30 squadrons, way below the sanctioned strength of 42. Each squadron comprises 18 fighter jets. These 83 jets are in addition to the 40 Mark 1 already ordered by the IAF.