Kushal Kumar Jha
Union Cabinet approves procurement of 83 indigenous LCA Tejas aircraft from HAL for the IAF
In a big boost to the indigenous capabilities of the Indian Air Force (IAF), The Union Cabinet met under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on 13 January approved the procurement of 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircraft at the cost of Rs. 45,696 Crore along with Design and Development of Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs.1,202 Crore. Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A variant is an indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft. This aircraft is equipped with critical operational capabilities such as Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile, Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite and Air to Air Refuelling (AAR) and would prove to be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force (IAF). It is the first “Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)” category procurement of combat aircraft with an indigenous content of 50% which will progressively reach 60% by the end of the programme. The Cabinet has also approved infrastructure development by IAF under the project to enable them to handle repairs or servicing at their base depot so that the turnaround time would get reduced for mission-critical systems and would lead to an increased availability of aircraft for operational exploitation. This would enable IAF to sustain the fleet more efficiently and effectively due to the availability of repair infrastructure at respective bases. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took to his Twitter handle to announce the landmark procurement.
Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, India is continuously growing in its power to indigenously design, develop and manufacture advanced cutting edge technologies and systems in the Defence Sector. The manufacturing of Light Combat Aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will give a further push to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative and boost indigenisation of defence production and the defence industry in the country. About 500 Indian companies, including MSMEs in the design and manufacturing sectors, will be working with HAL in this procurement. The programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant Atmanirbhar-self-sustaining ecosystem.