The Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved a Rs 48,000-crore proposal to buy 83 Tejas LCA (light combat aircraft) Mk 1A aircraft for the Indian Air Force, with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh calling the largest indigenous defence procurement deal “a game-changer for self-reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing” sector.
“The LCA-Tejas is going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in years to come. LCA-Tejas incorporates a large number of new technologies, many of which were never attempted in India. The indigenous content of LCA-Tejas is 50% in Mk1A variant which will be enhanced to 60%,” Singh said in a statement posted on his Twitter timeline.
Last March, the defence ministry gave a green light to the purchase of 83 advanced Tejas jets from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The jets to be ordered include 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 trainer aircraft at the cost of Rs 45,696 crore — along with design and development of infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 1,202 crore — the defence ministry said in a statement.
The deal for the 83 Mk-1A jets will take the total number of Tejas variants ordered to 123.
The 40 LCAs already ordered by the IAF are in the initial operational clearance (IOC) and the more advanced final operational clearance (FOC) configurations. The LCA Mk-1A will come with additional improvements over the FOC aircraft, making it the most advanced Tejas variant so far.
The Mk-1A variant is expected to come with digital radar warning receivers, external self-protection jammer pods, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, advanced beyond-visual-range (BVR) missiles and significantly improved maintainability.
“The LCA Mk-1A variant is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft. This aircraft is equipped with critical operational capabilities of AESA radar, BVR missiles, electronic warfare (EW) Suite and air-to-air refuelling and it would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of the IAF,” the defence ministry said.
“The decision taken today will considerably expand the current LCA ecosystem and help in creating new job opportunities. HAL follows a system integrator model in LCA Mk1A program and acts as an umbrella organisation, fostering manufacturing & design capabilities in pvt industry,” Singh said in another tweet.