The Indian Air Force (IAF) intends to buy 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas MK1A from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), according to a tender issued to HAL, as the sole source for the indigenously developed and built aircraft. Livefist reported. The Indian Air Force – currently has 40 Tejas MK1 LCA aircraft to equip the first two squadrons. The procurement of 83 will complete four LCA squadrons. With slow delivery and questionable performance of the current Tejas MK1, the IAF is reluctant to proceed with procurement of more Tejas, and will rather buy an off-the-shelf single-engine fighter, such as the F-16 or Gripen. But the MOD and government are determined to pursue with the program, expected to boost the country’s defense manufacturing by harnessing the private sector companies to produce systems more efficiently, in collaboration with foreign partners – as formulated by the government’s ‘Strategic Partnership’ scheme.
HAL has already delivered five Tejas MK1 aircraft of the first batch of 20 planes, and is lagging behind producing the remaining 15 aircraft (11 fighters + 4 trainers) and the second batch of 20 aircraft. HAL is outsourcing the production of fuselage modules, wings, and major subassemblies to private-sector companies, and improve the supply chain to support production and will open a second assembly line to ramp up production. To further accelerate production the Indian MOD plans to manufacture fighter aircraft through the ‘strategic partnership’ policy.
Tejas MK1A is a new and improved variant of the Tejas currently in production. Among the systems integrated into the new model are advanced EL/M-2052 AESA Radar and an electro-optic Electronic Warfare (EW) sensor suite, and aerial refueling capability. The Tejas MK1A is expected to enter production in 2019, after the LCA completes full operational capability certification. production