India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today approved a $6.56 billion (INR 48,000 Crore) to buy 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
“The CCS chaired by PM Narendra Modi today approved the largest indigenous defence procurement deal worth about 48000 Crores to strengthen IAF’s fleet of homegrown fighter jet ‘LCA-Tejas’. This deal will be a game changer for self-reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing,” Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted Wednesday evening.
The government will procure 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircraft.
“The LCA Tejas is going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in years to come,” the minister added.
According to Singh, the jet incorporates a large number of new technologies many of which were never attempted in India.
It is the first “Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)” category procurement of combat aircraft with an indigenous content of 50% which will progressively reach 60% by the end of the programme.
“The indigenous content of LCA-Tejas is 50% in Mk1A variant which will be enhanced to 60%,” Singh further stated.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), manufacturer of the Tejas jet, has already set-up second line manufacturing facilities at its Nasik and Bengaluru Divisions. Equipped with the augmented infrastructure, the company will steer LCA-Mk1A production for timely deliveries to the IAF.
In March 2020, an advanced version of Tejas, SP-21, with features such as air-to-air refuelling and Beyond Visual Range Missile system completed its maiden flight. The naval variant, LCA Navy, also made progress last year. The fighter completed its maiden arrested landing onboard India’s INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier.
Tejas is a single engined, light weight, highly agile, multi-role supersonic fighter. It has quadruplex digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System (FCS) with associated advanced flight control laws. The aircraft with delta wing is designed for ‘air combat’ and ‘offensive air support’ with ‘reconnaissance’ and ‘anti-ship’ as its secondary roles. Extensive use of advanced composites in the airframe gives a high strength to weight ratio, long fatigue life and low radar signatures.
It is powered by a General Electric GE 404F2/J-IN20 turbofan engine that provides maximum thrust of 5618 kgf.
Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is the designated project manager for the development of LCA.