The Defence Acquisition Council on Wednesday cleared procurement of 83 advanced version of Tejas aircraft, sources said.
The defence ministry has given the go-ahead for a Rs. 38,000 cr acquisition of next-generation Light Combat Aircraft that have been developed indigenously, with the production likely to see private sector manufacturing components of the jets.
The defence minister Rajnath Singh-led Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the contract and price for acquiring 83 of the aircraft. The approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is expected shortly.
“The Light Combat Aircraft Tejas indigenously-designed by Aircraft Development Agency (ADA) under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is going to be the backbone of Indian Air Force in future,” a statement from the defence ministry said.
“While orders of 40 Tejas aircraft had been placed with HAL in initial configurations, the DAC paved the way for procurement of 83 of the more advanced Mk1A version of the aircraft from HAL by finalising the contractual and other issues” on Wednesday, the statement said.
“The proposal will now be placed for consideration of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). This procurement will be a major boost to ‘Make in India’ as the aircraft is indigenously designed, developed and manufactured with the participation of several local vendors apart from HAL,” the statement said.
Though the defence ministry statement made no mention of the price, the order for 83 Tejas aircraft is expected to cost ₹39,000 crores. The Tejas is expected to form the backbone of the IAF’s fleet in the coming years.
This procurement will be a major boost to the Narendra Modi government’s flagship “Make in India” as the LCA is indigenously designed, developed and manufactured with the participation of several local vendors apart from HAL, the statement added.
At his annual press conference ahead of Indian Air Force day on 8 October, Indian air chief R.K.S. Bhadauria had said that the force would be looking to indigenous platforms like the Tejas and the advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) to meet the requirements of its squadron numbers as well as modernize its inventory with fourth-generation plus and fifth-generation aircraft.
According to the defence ministry statement, the Defence Acquisition Council also approved the acquisition of indigenous defence equipment for about ₹1,300 crore. The proposals were for procurement of aerial fuses and twin-dome simulators for Hawk Mk32 aircraft for the IAF, the statement said.
With the legendary MiG 21 fleet expected to be grounded within four years, the LCA will replace the Russian origin jets at forward air bases.