India

GoI approves purchase of 73 Tejas light combat aircrafts, 10 trainer aircrafts for 45,696 crore

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New Delhi: Government of India on Wednesday approved the purchase of 73 Tejas LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) fighter jets and 10 trainer aircraft for a cost of around ₹ 45.7 crore in the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) led by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.

The Tejas Mk-1A LCA is an indigenously designed and manufactured fourth-generation fighter with critical operational capabilities that include an Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar, an Electronic Warfare (EW) suite, and is capable of air-to-air refuelling (AAR), news agency PTI reported.

“The LCA Tejas is going to 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,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, adding that the deal was a “game-changer for self-reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing (sector)”.

“The LCA-Tejas is going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in 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% in Mk1A variant which will be enhanced to 60%.”

Singh said the deal would also “considerably expand the current LCA ecosystem and help in creating new job opportunities”, as well as changing the Indian aerospace manufacturing sector.

“The LCA-Tejas programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant Atmanirbhar-self-sustaining ecosystem,” he wrote.

“The LCA-Tejas programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant Atmanirbhar-self-sustaining ecosystem. I thank the Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi for this historic decision taken by the CCS today”.

On Wednesday evening the government of India in a statement said that 73 Tejas LCA fighter aircraft would become “a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of the Indian Air Force”.

“It is the first ‘BUY (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)’ category procurement of combat aircraft (with an indigenous content of 50 per cent that will reach 60 per cent by the end of the programme),” the GoI statement said.

At today’s meeting, the cabinet also approved infrastructure development to enable repair or servicing of the aircraft at duty stations. This will reduce turnaround time for mission-critical systems and lead to the increased availability of aircraft for operations, the government said.

In May last year the Air Force operationalised its second squadron of home-made Tejas fighter jets, assigning them to its No 18 Squadron – the ‘Flying Bullets’ – based at Sulur near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. The squadron was equipped with the fourth-generation Tejas Mk-1A LCA aircraft, the news agency report mentioned.

 

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