The participation at Singapore Air Show 2022 will provide an excellent opportunity to showcase the ease of handling and manoeuvrability of the TEJAS aircraft, the IAF said. A platform for global aviation industry to showcase products

India will showcase TEJAS MK-1 fighter jets at the upcoming Singapore Air Show, from February 15 to 18, the Indian Air Force said on Saturday, with the move aimed at tapping the export potential of the locally-made light combat aircraft (LCA).

Three TEJAS MK-1 jets will take part in the air show. A 44-member IAF contingent reached Changi International Airport in Singapore on Sunday to participate in the biennial event.

“IAF will be pitching the indigenous TEJAS MK-I aircraft alongside participants from across the world. The TEJAS aircraft will be enthralling the audience with its low-level aerobatics and displaying its superior handling characteristics and manoeuvrability,” the IAF said in a statement. TEJAS previously took part in the Malaysia, Dubai and Bahrain air shows.

The TEJAS’s participation in the Singapore air show comes in the backdrop of India taking steps to transform itself from one of the world’s biggest weapons importers into an export powerhouse. The military hardware that holds export potential includes the TEJAS, Astra beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile, Akash surface-to-air missile system, BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, tanks, sonars and a variety of radars, officials said.

India’s BrahMos Aerospace and the Philippines last month signed a deal worth almost $375 million for the Philippine Marines to acquire three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile, a shot in the arm for New Delhi’s efforts to emerge as an exporter of major defence hardware.

In December 2020, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its go-ahead to the sale of Akash missile systems to friendly foreign countries and created a high-powered panel for swifter approval to export of military hardware. India has set a target of clocking defence exports worth $5 billion by 2024.

The committee to speed up exports has the defence minister, external affairs minister and the national security advisor on board. Several foreign countries have shown interest in the Akash missile system during international and local defence exhibitions. Apart from authorising the export of defence platforms, the mandate of the committee is to explore opportunities for the government-to-government sale of military hardware to foreign countries.

“This year’s defence budget had a significant thrust of Make in India, a reflection of the government’s commitment to boost defence production in the country. It will enable us to develop systems that have export potential. TEJAS can help India get a toehold in foreign markets,” said Air Marshal Anil Chopra (Retd), director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.

Defence items already being exported include the advanced light helicopter, offshore patrol vessels, personal protective gear, surveillance systems and a variety of radars.

State-run plane maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is expected to carry out the first test flight of the TEJAS’s latest variant, MK-1A, soon. Last year, the defence ministry awarded a ₹48,000-crore contract to HAL for 83 TEJAS MK-1A jets for IAF. The first MK-1A aircraft will be delivered to the air force by March 2024, with the rest slated to join its combat fleet by 2029.