On Wednesday, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared a deal worth about Rs 48,000 crore for the procurement of 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft for the Indian Air Force. It sanctioned the largest indigenous defence procurement under its measures to toughen the armed forces. The decision came amid an impasse with China on the Line of Actual Control and scuffle with Pakistan over its terror infrastructure. The Tejas Mk-1A multirole light fighters will be manufactured by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Under the Department of Defence Research and Development, they are designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency. It will be an advancement over the Mk-1 version.
The IAF attained 40 of the previous types in two deals. 20 of them were Initial Operational Clearance standard aircraft (16 fighters and four trainers). On the other hand, the next 20 were Final Operational Clearance standard aircraft. Last March, Defence Acquisition Council had cleared the Tejas Mk-1A order. At a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Tejas Mk-1A order was approved by the CCS. In a Twitter post, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh termed it as the “largest indigenous defence procurement deal”.
According to Mr Singh, it will be a game changer for self-reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing. Further, he stated that in years to come, LCA-Tejas was going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet. He stated that the Indian content of the aircraft is 50% and will be enhanced to 60%. At its Nasik and Bengaluru divisions, HAL has already established second line manufacturing facilities. At a cost of Rs 45,696 crore, CCS sanctioned procurement of 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 trainer aircraft.