Many countries interested in indigenous fighter Tejas: Rajnath
Bengaluru: Many foreign nations have shown interest in procuring indigenous fighter Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday while inaugurating the third production line for the jet in Bengaluru.
The unit was inaugurated a day before the mega Aero India show.
During the inaugural speech, Singh said that under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, the country is looking forward to increasing its defence manufacturing capabilities. “India cannot remain dependent on other countries for its defence,” the defence minister said.
“Tejas is not only indigenous, but it is also better than its foreign equivalents on several parameters and also comparatively cheaper. Many countries have shown interest in Tejas. India will achieve the target of Rs 1.75 lakh Cr in the field of defence manufacturing in few years,” he said in a tweet.
Last month, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the highest decision-making body for security issues headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the purchase of 83 Tejas fighter jets at a cost of Rs 48,000 crore, including infrastructure, for Indian Air Force.
The CCS approved the largest indigenous defence procurement deal worth about Rs 48,000 crore to strengthen the Indian Air Force’s fleet of the home-grown Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Tejas.
Out of the 83, HAL is all set to manufacture 73 Mark 1-A, the new variant of the Tejas which will be more potent and effective than the previous Mark 1, 10 will be Mark 1 trainers.
Giving out details about the Cabinet decision, the Defence Ministry had said in a statement: “The Cabinet has approved procurement of 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircrafts and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircrafts at the cost of Rs. 45,696 Crore along with Design and Development of Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs.1,202 Crore.”
Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A variant is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft. It is equipped with critical operational capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile, Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite and Air to Air Refuelling (AAR), a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force, IAF.
The LCA-Tejas will be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in the 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 per cent in the Mk1A variant which will be enhanced to 60 per cent.
The Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is indigenously designed by the Aircraft Development Agency (ADA) under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
HAL follows a system integrator model in the LCA Mk1A programme and acts as an umbrella organisation, fostering manufacturing and design capabilities in private industry.
The first squadron of the Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas was raised in 2016.