The Cabinet Security Committee (CCS), the highest security decision-making body led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved on Wednesday the purchase of 83 Tejas fighters for the Indian Air Force at a price of 48,000 crore rupees, including infrastructure.
CCS has approved the largest deal to purchase domestic defense aircraft valued at approximately Rs 48,000 crore to strengthen its fleet of its own light combat aircraft (LCA) -Tejas. “This deal will transform the game of independence in the Indian defense industry,” said Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.
Providing details of the government’s decision, the Ministry of Defense in a statement said: “The Cabinet approved the purchase of 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter planes and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 training aircraft for Rs 45,696 crore. and the development of infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 1202 crore. “
The Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A variant is a domestic project, developed and produced with the most modern generation 4+ fighter aircraft. This aircraft is equipped with the critical operational capabilities of Active Matrix Radar (AESA), Beyond Visual Range Missile (BVR), Electronic Warfare (EW) and Airborne Refueling (AAR), which would be a powerful platform to meet the Indian Forces operational requirements Airborne, IAF.
LCA-Tejas will be the backbone of the IAF’s fighter fleet in the coming years. LCA-Tejas contains many new technologies, many of which have never been tried in India. The indigenous LCA-Tejas content is 50 percent in the Mk1A variant, which will be increased to 60 percent.
The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft was designed by the Aircraft Development Agency (ADA) under the Organization for Defense Research and Development (DRDO) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
HAL has already launched second-line production plants in its Nasik and Bengaluru branches. Equipped with the expanded infrastructure, HAL will control the production of the LCA-Mk1A for timely deliveries to the IAF.
“The decision taken today will significantly expand the current LCA ecosystem and help create new jobs,” said the minister.
HAL follows the system integrator model in the LCA Mk1A program and acts as an umbrella organization supporting private industry manufacturing and design capabilities.
The first light combat aircraft squadron, Tejas, was established in 2016.
The production of 83 jets will not only increase “Make in India” or self-reliance, but help fill gaps in the Indian Air Force, as their current fleet has been reduced to 30 squadrons, well below the sanctioned force of 42.
Each squadron consists of 18 fighters. These 73 Mark 1A jets are an addition to the 40 Mark 1 already ordered by the IAF.
In March last year, the Ministry of Defense approved the purchase of 73 Tejas Mark 1A aircraft for the Indian Air Force.
This was a significant breakthrough because after over three years of cost negotiations between the Ministry of Defense and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the purchase price of the Tejas Advanced Light Combat Aircraft, manufactured in the country of origin, was reduced.
IAF has 20 Mark-1 jets from the earlier variant, while another 20 are to be delivered.