In a major decision aimed at boosting the domestic aerospace industry, India on Wednesday approved the purchase of 73 Tejas LCA fighter jets and 10 trainer aircrafts for Rs 48,000 crore.
As per a statement issued, the government said the 73 Tejas LCA fighter aircraft would become "a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of the Indian Air Force". The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the decision will strengthen the movement to create an 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India).
The prime minister tweeted, "Today's Cabinet decision will improve the capabilities of our armed forces, boost the indigenous defence industry and strengthen the movement to create an Aatmanirbhar Bharat."
Here’s all you need to know about indigenously-developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas:
- The Tejas Mk-1A Light Combat Aircraft is an indigenously designed and manufactured fourth-generation fighter with critical operational capabilities that include an Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar, an Electronic Warfare (EW) suite, and is capable of air-to-air refuelling (AAR).
- Around three years back, the Indian Air Force had issued an initial tender for procurement of 83 Tejas aircraft, a four-and-half generation combat jet which is manufactured by the state-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The IAF has already inducted a batch of Tejas aircraft as part of its initial order of 40 jets.
- The Tejas Mk-1A will be equipped with active electronically scanned array radar, beyond visual range missile, electronic warfare suite and air-to-air refuelling and would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of the IAF, officials said.
- Tejas is a fully-weaponised light fighter with a single engine.
- Although a lightweight aircraft with a short range, Tejas aircraft can carry the same array of modern weapons that bigger warplanes carry, from precision guided and standoff weaponry to long-range 'beyond visual range' missiles that can take down enemy planes from a safe distance.
- The ministry said the government has also approved infrastructure development by IAF under the project to enable it to handle repairs and servicing at its base depots so that the turnaround time of the aircraft could be reduced and their availability can be increased for "operational exploitation".
- The defence minister said that aircraft maker HAL has already set up second-line manufacturing facilities at its Nasik and Bengaluru divisions, adding it will ensure timely deliveries of the jets to the IAF.
- HAL has already doubled the production capacity of Tejas from eight aircraft per year to 16.
- Officials said a contract between the IAF and HAL is likely to be signed by March on the mega-deal and actual delivery of the aircraft are expected from 2024.
- The government has been majorly focusing on boosting domestic defence production and set a target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore (USD 25 billion) turnover in defence manufacturing by 2025. According to estimates, the Indian armed forces are projected to spend around USD 130 billion in capital procurement in the next five years.
- The most amazing aero-dynamic features of Tejas makes it stand for excellent performance across a broader fighter envelope. The highly optimized wing of the aircraft shows up the right variation of thickness, twist and camber through its span.
With PTI inputs