Govt clears IAF purchase of 83 Tejas Mark-1A fighter aircraft
First Published Jan 13, 2021, 4:09 PM IST
In a major boost to domestic defence manufacturing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-headed Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Wednesday gave its final nod for the purchase of 83 'Make in India; Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas for Indian Air Force (IAF) worth Rs 46,898 crore, including infrastructure design and development. Anish Singh reports.
In a statement issued by the defence ministry on Wednesday said, "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 aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircraft at the cost of Rs 45,696 crore along with Design and Development of Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 1,202 crore."
The 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.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the deal will be a game-changer for self-reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing.
"The HAL has already set-up second line manufacturing facilities at its Nasik and Bengaluru Divisions. Equipped with the augmented infrastructure the HAL will steer LCA-Mk1A production for timely deliveries to the IAF," Singh said.
Calling the CCS decision as a big boost to the Tejas programme, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman and Managing Director R Madhavan said it has received a major shot in boosting the Atamanirbhar drive in the aerospace and aeronautics sectors.
"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," Madhavan added.
The Tejas program follows the system integrator model with the creation of a national aerospace ecosystem and participation of approximately 560 companies from large to Small Medium Enterprises 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 workforce," the HAL CMD said.
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 aircraft with an indigenous content of 50 per cent which will progressively reach 60 per cent by the end of the programme," the defence ministry said.
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," it added.
The Cabinet has also approved infrastructure development by IAF under the project to enable them to handle repairs or servicing at their base depot so that the turnaround time would get reduced for mission-critical systems and would lead to the increased availability of aircraft for operational exploitation.
This would enable IAF to sustain the fleet more efficiently and effectively due to the availability of repair infrastructure at respective bases.
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