Government of India on Wednesday formally sealed in what is being dubbed as the “Biggest Make-in-India” deal to procure 83 Tejas light combat aircraft from state-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. This deal is being deemed as the biggest ever indigenous defence procurement programme, according to officials.
The contract was handed over by Director General (Acquisition), Ministry of Defence, V L Kantha Rao to Chairman and Managing Director of HAL, R Madhavan, at the inaugural ceremony of Aero India-2021, the country’s premier Defence and Aerospace show, in Bengaluru, in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. “I am very happy that HAL has got the orders for development of 83 new indigenous LCA (light combat aircraft) Tejas MK1A from Indian Air Force valued at more than ₹48,000 crore.”
“It is probably the biggest Make in India Defence contract till date,” Rajnath Singh said.
Tejas, manufactured by the HAL, is a single engine and highly agile multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft capable of operating in high-threat air environments.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month approved the deal for procurement of the 73 Tejas Mk-IA variant and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-I trainer aircraft from the HAL to boost IAF’s combat prowess.
The Tejas Mk-IA will be equipped with an active electronically scanned array radar, beyond visual range missile, electronic warfare suite and air-to-air refuelling system.
On Tuesday, Defence Minister Singh inaugurated a new manufacturing plant in Bengaluru to double the production of Tejas.
Speaking on the occasion, he said procurement of the Tejas fleet will significantly enhance the capability of the Indian Air Force.
The aircraft is a potent platform for air combat and offensive air support missions while reconnaissance and anti-ship operations are its secondary roles.
Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited R Madhavan told PTI recently that the delivery of the Tejas aircraft to the IAF will begin from March 2024 and around 16 aircraft will be rolled out annually till completion of the total supply of 83 jets.
Madhavan said the basic price of the aircraft will be around ₹25,000 crore while ₹11,000 crore will be used for ground support equipment and other required infrastructure at the bases and around ₹7,000 for basic customs duty and output GST.
The HAL chairman and managing director said the cost for each fighter version of the four-and-half generation aircraft will be ₹309 crore and ₹280 crore for the trainer version.
The total cost of ₹48,000 crore includes design and development cost of ₹2,500 crore to be given to Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and around ₹2,250 crore set aside for variations in foreign currency exchange rate.
The Aero India, known as Asia’s largest defence and aerospace exhibition, is being held in Bengaluru from February 3-5.