On day two of the 13th edition of Aero-India 2021, R Madhavan, chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), said that “Countries from the Middle East and Southeast Asia have expressed their interest in the indigenous LCA `Tejas’ Mk 1A fighter at a vanilla price of just Rs 309 crore per aircraft.”
A day after the order for 83 Light Combat Aircraft `Tejas’ for the Indian Air Force (IAF) was handed over to the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL, stage is getting set for the export of these indigenous fighter jets. On day two of the 13th edition of Aero-India 2021, R Madhavan, chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), said that “Countries from the Middle East and Southeast Asia have expressed their interest in the indigenous LCA `Tejas’ Mk 1A fighter at a vanilla price of just Rs 309 crore per aircraft.”
In an interaction with the media persons on the sideline, the HAL CMD said that as countries from Southeast Asia and West Asia East have evinced interest, the export version will be a bit different from what IAF is going to get.”
According to the CMD, “The is cost of Rs 309 crore is the cheapest and the aircraft will be exported at this price, though the cost will be a bit extra because bases and the services we will be providing overseas.”
What’s inside the LCA Mark 1A
The aircraft comes with the same airframe and engine as the Mark 1. The Mark IA is equipped with AESA radar which is from Israel, Electronic Warfare suite, there is a much better pilot machine interface.
Also, a state of the art ‘fly by wire’ system which according to a former aviator would be the envy of the aviation world.
The weapons on board are a mixture of indigenous as well as imported.
For instance, the radar which has been bought off the shelf from Israel is also behind some parts for the EW suite and has been integrated to perform optimally and indigenously.
Also, most upgrades for Mk 1A have been developed in house which also includes the FBW — this gives the pilot the capability of handling through the ALSR (Advanced Auto Low-Speed Recovery).
It has capability to fire Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, bombs and precision-guided munitions.
More about the 83 fighters for IAF
Breaking down the entire package for 83 fighters for IAF, the CMD explained: “The contract is for around Rs 48,000 crore. However, it will come down to just around Rs 36,000 if the tax component and escalation in foreign exchange is taken away.”
“The way the calculation is being done is wrong. Take out the taxes and duty, and increase in foreign exchange brings the total cost to just Rs 25,150 crore,” the CMD explained.
Breaking it down further the CMD stated, “If you calculate the taxes and customs duty it works out to around Rs 9,200 crore, and then you add another Rs 11,000 crore which is for the ground equipment which will take the chunk, spares, training aides and manuals, and other expenses.”
How much will one LCA `Tejas’ cost?
According to him, cost per aircraft is Rs 309 crore. The cost of the trainer is around Rs 280 crore. The countries which have reached out have found this cost to be the cheapest for the four and a half generation aircraft.”
Financial Express Online has reported earlier that countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka are among those who have evinced interests in these fighters and the HAL is also planning to set logistics facilities to attract buyers from the region.
The government has set a defence export target of $5 billion in the next five years. And Defence PSUs including the HAL are working towards achieving this target.