Aero-India 2021: LCA the pride of the nation, will soon be the backbone of IAF, says defence Minister Rajnath Singh

By: |
February 3, 2021 10:41 AM

On the eve of the show, defence minister Rajnath Singh had inaugurated the second production line for the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft which will join the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The deal was signed on the sidelines of the 13th edition of Aero-India which is taking place in Bengaluru. (Image: HAL)

After a long wait the Ministry of Defence and state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have signed a Rs 48,000-cr deal for 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

The deal was signed on the sidelines of the 13th edition of Aero-India which is taking place in Bengaluru.

On the eve of the show, defence minister Rajnath Singh had inaugurated the second production line for the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft which will join the Indian Air Force (IAF). The new production line that has been inaugurated will increase the production capacity. With one production line HAL was getting 8 fighters and with a new facility, the capacity of production will go up to 16.

What is the deal signed?

The deal which has been inked today is for 73 `Tejas’ Mk 1A aircraft which will have advanced features. Also the deal includes another 10 trainers.

As has been reported earlier, the deal for 83 LCA was approved by the CCS on January 13, 2021.

What does it mean for the IAF?

With the new order that was inked today, the IAF will have 123 Tejas variants in service. An order for 40 Tejas has already been made by the government in `Initial’ and `Final’ operational clearance.

What did the HAL CMD say?

Talking about the timeline for the deliveries of the aircraft, R Madhavan, CMD, HAL said, “All the 83 aircraft will be delivered in nine years. By February 3, 2024, the first aircraft from this order will be delivered.”

Another good news is expected soon for the HAL. The CCS approval is awaited for the purchase of 15 Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) for the Indian Army.

What is LCA Tejas Mk 1A?

Equipped with quadruplex digital fly-by-wire system the made in India aircraft is tail-less compound delta aircraft.

It is built with composite material which helps in reducing the weight, reduced signature and increased life.

What was ordered today LCA-Tejas Mk 1A is actually the advanced version of the LCA Mk1 — in Final Operational Clearance Configuration).

This variant is a supersonic fighter and has air combat capability at all altitudes. Also it can carry 3,500 kg payload and is best suited for offensive air support.

More about this variant

There is mid-air refuelling, improved operational roles, active electronically scanned array radar, electronic warfare suite and beyond visual range missile capabilities. Also, it has enhanced combat ability. These aircraft will be flying with GE-414 engines from America.

Why does the IAF need these?

The plan is to have around 12 squadrons of LCA – Tejas Mk 1A and Mark II. The HAL order book has 40 LCAs for the IAF. This first aircraft from this order was inducted into ‘Flying Daggers’ squadron, in 2016.

When did the production of LCA start?

It started in 2014, and with the current production capacity only eight per annum were being manufactured. Now a new facility has been inaugurated which will help in increasing the production of the fighter jets.

When was Tejas born?

The first time the idea was conceptualized in the 1970s, however the work started only in 1983. The aircraft is not totally indigenous.

Unfortunately, the Kaveri engine which was being worked on for the indigenous fighters for over four decades, is now going to be used for powering UAVs.

Also read | Future of `Tejas’ with Indigenous Kaveri Engine: A long way to go

The aircraft, according to officials is considered to be four and a half generation, and it will have the capacity to be upgraded when needed.

What did the defence minister say while inaugurating the new facility?

While lauding the efforts being made by HAL for increasing the production capacity, according to the minister, “ The new LCA facility is an example of how ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ is shaping. And HAL deserves the largest indigenous order of 83 LCA Mk-IA.”

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