After securing French multirole fighter aircraft Rafale, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon get 83 indigenously designed Tejas LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) fighter jets and 10 trainer aircraft.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the purchase on Wednesday (January 13) for a cost of about ₹48,000 crore.
“The LCA-Tejas programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant atmanirbhar-self-sustaining ecosystem,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.
He said: “The decision to buy Tejas aircrafts will create new job opportunities, fostering manufacturing and design capabilities in the private sector.”
The Defence Minister said that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which designed Tejas, has already set up second line manufacturing facilities at its Nashik and Bengaluru divisions. “Equipped with the augmented infrastructure, the HAL will steer LCA-Mk1A production for timely deliveries to the IAF,” Singh tweeted.
The Tejas Mk-1A Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is a made in India fourth-generation fighter aircraft with critical operational capabilities that include active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar, an electronic warfare (EW) suite, and is capable of air-to-air refueling (AAR).
The Tejas single-seat, single-engine, lightweight, high-agility supersonic fighter aircraft manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) entered service with the Indian Air Force (IAF) in July 2016.
As of December 2019, Tejas had flown 4,599 test flights up to speeds of Mach 1.4.
The aircraft’s design and development programme was led by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the Indian Department of Defence, with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the prime industrial contractor.
A Tejas naval prototype successfully completed a flight test aboard Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya in January 2020.