On the eve of the 13th edition of Aero-India 2021, defence minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the second production line for the Light Combat Aircraft `Tejas.’ The aircraft are going to be manufactured by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
As has been reported by Financial Express Online last month, to boost IAF’s combat capability, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved Rs 47,000-crore deal for procuring 73 Tejas Mk-1A variants and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 trainer aircraft.
According to the time timeline shared by the HAL CMD R Madhavan, the delivery of these will begin from March 2024. Annually there will be a roll out of 16 aircraft, until the completion of the total delivery of the 83 indigenous fighter jets.
Several ASEAN nations have expressed interest in the Made in India fighter jets.
According to the HAL CMD the indigenous content of the LCA-Tejas was 50 per cent in the MK1A variant. This is expected to be enhanced to 60 per cent by the end of the programme.
Number of modifications
In the MK-IA, there will be around 40 modifications over the MK1 variant. And these would include major ones like Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles and a network warfare system comprising Software Defined Radio (SDR), an Electronic Warfare system, and Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.
These modifications according to officials would be incorporated on the LCA concurrently along the production once the deal is signed.
What has the IAF ordered?
As has been reported earlier, the IAF order is 40 LCA `Tejas’ in two batches of 20 each in the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) and the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configurations and has raised two squadrons.
So far, 16 aircraft in the IOC configuration have been delivered and which are part of the first squadron that was operationalised in July 2016.
And, the delivery of the FOC aircraft has also started and it comes with inflight refuelling capability and advanced features for low-speed handling and improved weapons capability, enhanced fight envelope,
There are eight trainer variant that are expected to be delivered from 2023 onwards.