The Indian Cabinet Committee on Security cleared the country’s largest-ever indigenous defense deal worth $6.5 billion for the purchase of 83 LCA MK1A Tejas light fighter jets. The deal will see state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited manufacture 73 LCA MK1A Tejas fighter versions and 10 trainers versions. The Indian Ministry of Defence said this deal is the first “Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)” category procurement of combat aircraft with indigenous content of at least 50 percent — and it’s expected that will increase to 60 percent by the end of the program.
The LCA MK1A Tejas fighters will have new capabilities including midair refueling; improvement in operational roles; enhanced combat capability; maintainability improvements; and active electronically scanned array radar, an electronic warfare suite and beyond-visual-range missile capabilities. The Indian Air Force will sign a formal contract with HAL during the Aero India air show in Bengaluru next month, according to an MoD official. Each LCA MK1A fighter is powered by a single F404-GE-IN20 engine, and each jet will cost about $78.5 million, adding that the program is expected to generate 5,000 jobs in India.
About 500 Indian companies including MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) in the design and manufacturing sectors will be working with HAL in this procurement. The programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant self-sustaining ecosystem. the private defense companies that will support assembly include Larsen & Toubro for the wings, Dynamatic Technologies for the front fuselage, Alpha Tokal for the rear fuselage, and VEM Technologies for the center fuselage. The new Tejas program will involve the highest level of local work in comparison to any Indian program of this scale.
The HAL Tejas is an Indian single-engine, fourth-generation, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of 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 vertical stabilizer. This provides better high-alpha performance characteristics than conventional wing designs.