Rajnath Singh commends India’s indigenous defence deal to acquire 83 Tejas fighter planes
Tejas fighter planes: On Wednesday, India took one of the key decisions to strengthen its defences, by providing a go-ahead for the acquisition of Tejas fighter plane’s deal worth about Rs 48,000 crore. The deal for 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, to be purchased by the Indian Air Force, was approved by Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The decision for this military upgradation came amid worsening ties between two of India’s neighbours – China and Pakistan.
The deal stated that the combat plane, Tejas Mk-1A multirole light fighters, would be designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency under the Department of Defence Research and Development, and would be manufactured by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The IAF got 40 of the earlier variant of these aircrafts as part of the two deals, which included 20 Initial Operational Clearance standard aircraft (out of which 16 were fighters and four trainers) and 20 Final Operational Clearance standard aircraft. The Tejas Mk-1A order gained green signal last March by the Defence Acquisition Council, during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
With regard to the recent deal, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, took to Twitter to describe it as the “largest indigenous defence procurement deal” and said it “will be a game changer for self-reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing”.
He said “LCA-Tejas is going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in years to come” and it “incorporates a large number of new technologies, many of which were never attempted in India”. He added that over the time, the indigenous content of the aircraft, would increase from existing 50 per cent to 60 per cent.
To make deliveries on time, HAL set up second line manufacturing units at its Nasik and Bengaluru divisions. Singh mentioned that “equipped with the augmented infrastructure, the HAL will steer LCA-Mk1A production for timely deliveries to the IAF”. He added that the aircraft’s indigenous production would create ripple effect as it would “expand the current LCA ecosystem and help in creating new job opportunities”.
Singh said “HAL follows a system integrator model in LCA Mk1A program and acts as an umbrella organisation, fostering manufacturing & design capabilities in pvt. industry.”
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Defence, it was highlighted that the CCS gave permission for procurement of 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 trainer aircraft at a price of Rs 45,696 crore along with design and development of infrastructure sanctions amounting to Rs 1,202 crore.
Commending Modi government for the “historic step”, Singh said the “LCA-Tejas programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant Atmanirbhar-self-sustaining ecosystem”.