In addition to 40 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas aircraft 20 in Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) and 20 in Final Operation Clearance (FOC) version with 16 fighters & 4 trainers in each, Indian Government has planned to manufacture improved 83 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft with enhanced capabilities for Indian Air Force (IAF). The production of 16 fighters in IOC has been completed in March, 2019 and the production of 16 fighters in FOC and 8 trainers has been undertaken by HAL. Several new features have been included in LCA Mk1A aircraft to enhance the combat capabilities in terms of avionics, radar, weapons, air to air refuelling etc. Flight testing of Tejas Mk1A fighter aircraft has been planned to be completed by 2022.
In 2015, ADA and HAL proposed the upgraded Tejas Mark 1A as a stop-gap to keep production running until Mark 2 came into production, which was delayed. It was to include an AESA radar, air-to-air refueling capability, an external ECM pod and improved avionics, aerodynamics, radar signature, ease of maintenance etc. After months of negotiation HAL agreed to lower the unit price to between â‚¹250-â‚¹275 crore (US$39 million) for 83 Mark 1A and 10 Mark 1 trainer jets bringing the number to about Rs 22,825 crores. However this new deal would exclude all maintenance and support equipment. Cost Committee of the Defence Ministry determined the final value of the deal to be at â‚¹45,000 crore (US$6.3 billion) including all installations and logistic packages. Signing of the contract for the aircraft will happen by December 2019 or January 2020, delivery will start by 2023.
HAL Tejas is an Indian single-engine, delta wing, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force 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”. 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 degrees, and trailing edge has a forward sweep of four degrees. 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.