The Union Cabinet, under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 13 January 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. The aircraft will be manufactured by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which will give a further push to Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative and boost indigenisation of defence production and the defence industry in the country.
It is the first 'BUY (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)' category procurement of combat aircraft (with an indigenous content of 50 per cent that will reach 60 per cent by the end of the programme).
Tejas Mark-1A jet is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft. 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).
The Defence Acquisitions Council first approved the induction of 83 Tejas fighter aircrafts at a cost of Rs 49,797 crore in 2016.
The Cabinet 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.
Terming the deal as "game-changer for self-reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing sector, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, "The LCA Tejas is going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in (the) years to come. LCA-Tejas incorporates a large number of new technologies, many of which were never attempted in India."
"The LCA-Tejas programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant Atmanirbhar-self-sustaining ecosystem," he said in a tweet.
Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, India is continuously growing in its power to indigenously design, develop and manufacture advanced cutting edge technologies and systems in the defence sector. 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. 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.