Express News Service
NEW DELHI: In a big boost to the indigenous defence manufacturing, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Wednesday approved the procurement of 83 indifenously manufacture Light Combat Aircraft. Ministry of Defence stated officially, “The Cabinet met under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister in New Delhi on 13 January and has approved procurement of 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircrafts and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircrafts at the cost of Rs. 45,696 crore along with Design and Development of Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs.1,202 crore.” Elaborating on the capabilities of LCA Mk-1 over the current variant of LCA, the MoD listed, “This aircraft is equipped with critical operational capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile, Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite and Air to Air Refuelling (AAR) would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force, IAF.” These will add to operational roles, enhance the combat ability and maintainability.
As per the plan, the first flight of the Tejas Mark 1A will take place by the end of 2022.
The CCS chaired by PM Sh. @narendramodi today approved the largest indigenous defence procurement deal worth about 48000 Crores to strengthen IAF’s fleet of homegrown fighter jet ‘LCA-Tejas’. This deal will be a game changer for self reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) January 13, 2021
DRDO initiated the programme of indigenous aircraft in 1983 and had obtained permission to initiate a programme to design and develop a Light Combat Aircraft. Indian Air force has two squadrons of LCA Tejas operational at present.
Mr R Madhavan, CMD, HAL calling the decision as a big boost to the Tejas program has received a major shot in the arm in boosting the Atamanirbhar drive in the aerospace and aeronautics.
Mr R Madhavan added, “The production rate for this increased requirement by IAF is being augmented by HAL from 8 to 16 aircraft per year through the creation of state-of-the-art new facility in Bengaluru.”
LCA-Tejas program follows the system integrator model and has created a national aerospace ecosystem with the participation of approximately 560 companies from large to SMEs which encompass all the facets of aircraft design and manufacturing.
“It is estimated that as the LCA MK1A program kicks-off, it will generate primary jobs to a tune of 5000 across the country. The programme will foster local industry and drives skill development of young Indian work force.” Added Mr R Madhavan. Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A variant is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft. “It is the first “Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)” category procurement of combat aircrafts with an indigenous content of 50% which will progressively reach 60% by the end of the programme.”, informed MoD. This decision is seen to act as a catalyst for the indigenous manufacturers, small and big. “About 500 Indian companies including MSMEs in the design and manufacturing sectors will be working with HAL in this procurement. The programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant Atmanirbhar-self-sustaining ecosystem.”
The Cabinet has also approved infrastructure development by IAF under the project to enable them handle repairs or servicing at their base depot so that the turnaround time would get reduced for mission critical systems and would lead to increased availability of aircraft for operational exploitation. This would enable IAF to sustain the fleet more efficiently and effectively due to availability of repair infrastructure at respective bases. The manufacturing of Light Combat Aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, HAL will give a further push to Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative and boost indigenisation of defence production and the defence industry in the country.