Given the dwindling fighter jets in the Indian Air Force (IAF), the government is going to buy 200 fighter jets. Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar on Sunday said that the government was taking this step to deal with the problem of ever-decreasing fighter jets in the force. He said that the contract for 83 Tejas fighter jets Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is preparing is in the last round.
The defence secretary said that the government had sought proposals for 110 more jets besides these 83 fighter aircraft. He said a process was underway to procure a total of 200 fighter aircraft in this way.
The defence secretary said, “We will soon finalise the contract for 83 Tejas fighter jets. India will be able to get the urgent fighter aircraft for its air security.”
Asked about the timeframe for Tejas fighter jets to be inducted into the air force, the officer said, “We want to complete this process as soon as possible.” he talked also about outsourcing.
Currently, the IAF fleet has fighter aircraft like Mirage 2000, Sukhoi 30 MKI and MiG-29. There are also Jaguars and Mig 21 Bison, which have become quite old. Thirty-six French-made Rafale will soon join the IAF fleets.
Recently, the MiG-27 fighter jets last flew after serving at the Jodhpur airbase for nearly four decades. These aircraft played an important role during the Kargil War and destroyed the intruder’s dangerous plans by bombing Pakistani targets.
Tejas, the first replenishment for IAF
HAL Tejas is a single-engine, delta wing, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the IAF and Indian Navy. It came from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters. In 2003, the LCA was officially named “Tejas”.
Unlike in the case of the American-made Apache helicopters, there is no disagreement between the forces on who gets to fly the Tejas.
Tejas has a tail-less compound delta-wing configuration with a single dorsal fin. This provides better high-alpha performance characteristics than conventional wing designs. Its wing root leading edge has a sweep of 50 degrees, the outer wing leading edge has a sweep of 62.5°. Its trailing edge has a forward sweep of 4°. It integrates technologies such as relaxed static stability, fly-by-wire flight control system, multi-mode radar, integrated digital avionics system and composite material structures. It is the smallest and lightest in its class of contemporary supersonic combat aircraft.
The Tejas is the second supersonic fighter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) after the HAL HF-24 Marut. As of 2016, the Tejas Mark 1 was in production for the IAF and the naval version was undergoing flight tests for Indian Navy. The projected requirement for the IAF was 200 single-seat fighters and 20 twin-seat trainers, while the IN expected to operate at least 40 single-seat fighters. The first Tejas IAF unit, No. 45 Squadron IAF Flying Daggers was formed on 1 July 2016 with two aircraft. Initially stationed at Bangalore, 45 Squadron was later relocated to its home base at Sulur, Tamil Nadu. The Minister of State for Defence, Subhash Bhamre, reported to parliament that the indigenous content of the Tejas was 59.7% by value and 75.5% by a number of line replaceable units in 2016.
As of 2019, the planned number of Tejas in Indian Air Force inventory is a total 324 aircraft of several variants. The first batch consists of 40 Mark 1 aircraft, 16 IOC standard (already delivered) and 16 FOC standard (delivery to commence by end of 2019), followed by 8 trainers. Next 83 are to be of upgraded Mark 1A standard. By the time these first 123 are delivered, the Tejas Mark 2 is expected to be ready for series production by 2025–26