As the Union Defence Ministry on Thursday cleareda mega deal on defence, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is now all set to acquire 97 more Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (Mark 1A). Moreover, Centre has also cleared the procurement of 156 Prachand Combat helicopters. Of these, 90 are Army helicopters and 66 are IAF helicopters.
What did the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal say?
In light of the laest development, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari termed the defence deal a "landmark event".
"We already had 40 LCAs of the original IOC and FOC version. So with this, in the long run, the strength of the Indian Air Force will grow to 220 LCA mark 1As, which will equip almost ten squadrons of the Air Force," he said.
According to him, the 97 Light Combat Aircraft is"an ideal fit" to replace the depleting strength of the jets, given the winding down of the MiG 21 and the MiG 27 and 23 fleets in the past.
"It's a very capable and potent aircraft and it gives our trust in the Indian defence industry capabilities. It shows that we firmly are committed towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat and ensuring that a large number of our items on our inventory are made in India," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
About Tejas Fighter Jet
Tejas Mark-1A is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured fighter aircraft which houses over 65 per cent indigenous components.
Both the Tejas aircraft and the Prachand helicopters are homegrown and are worth Rs 1.1 lakh crore.
About the Defence Deal
Besides the Tejas fighter jets and Prachand Combat helicopters, the Defence Acquisition Council headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also cleared the Indian Air Force's Su-30 fighter aircraft upgrade programme.
It is learnt that mega procurement projects and the Su-30 upgrade programme are expected to cost the exchequer Rs 1.3 lakh crore.
In February 2021, the defence ministry sealed a Rs 48,000 crore deal with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for procurement of 83 Tejas MK-1A jets for the IAF.