The Indian Air Force had issued a tender for 83 LCAs about two years ago and the project was stuck over the pricing issue as the centre and Indian Air Force felt that the price offered by the HAL was slightly higher.
The Defence Ministry has awarded a contract to manufacture 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighters to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at the Aero India international air show on February 3, 2021.
The event was organised by HAL on behalf of Department of Defence Production (DDP), Ministry of Defence, Government of India to promote Aerospace and Defence (AandD) manufacturing and export potential of the Defence Industry.
During the opening ceremony of Aero India 2021, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh presented the Tejas model to HAL chief R Madhavan.
Rajnath Singh tweeted saying that he is very happy that HAL has got the orders for development of 83 new indigenous LCA – Tejas MK1A from Indian Air Force valued at more than Rs 48000 crores.
The Defence Minister said that it is probably the biggest Make in India Defence contract till date.
•The Indian Air Force had issued a tender for 83 LCAs about two years ago and the project was stuck over the pricing issue as both IAF and the centre had felt that the price offered by HAL was slightly high.
•The first LCA Mark 1A aircraft is likely to be produced by 2023 once HAL completes the supply of the initial 40 planes in the Initial Operational Clearance and Final Operational Clearance standards.
•The Defence Ministry has set a target of making 83 planes over the next six years from the delivery of the first plane.
•The LCA Mark 1A is an advanced version of Tejas aircraft. It is expected to form the backbone of the fighter fleet of the IAF
•The contract has been awarded to HAL at a cost of Rs 48000 crore.
•The jets will be in two variants –
•73 of these will be ‘Tejas Mk-1A’ configuration
•10 jets will be the ‘Tejas Mk-1’ configuration, which will be used as a ‘trainer aircraft’
Currently, only 50 percent of the jet is made in India while the engine and the latest radar called AESA comes from US and Israel respectively.
Overall, the aircraft has around 344 systems, out of which 210 systems are indigenous and 134 of them are imported.
The government aims to reduce imported systems to approximately 80 by the time the first aircraft gets produced by HAL.
A new manufacturing facility for Tejas was opened at Bengaluru by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on February 2, 2021. The facility is expected to double the production rate from the present eight planes per year to 16.