Formal Contract

A contract to manufacture 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighters was handed over to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) by the Defence Ministry at the Aero India international air show. The first TEJAS MK-1A aircraft is likely to be produced by 2023 once the HAL is done with the supply of the initial 40 planes in the Initial Operational Clearance and Final Operational Clearance standards which have already taken part and proven themselves in IAF operational exercises. TEJAS MK-1A is the advanced version of Tejas aircraft.

Export Order

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Tejas is not only indigenous, but better than its foreign equivalents on several parameters and also comparatively cheaper. "Many countries have shown interest in Tejas”. He also said that a number of countries have shown keen interest in procurement of the Tejas and that the first export order is likely to come by in the next couple of years.

Comparisons With China's JF-17

In an interview to PTI, Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited R Madhavan said that TEJAS MK-1A jet has superior performance levels compared to China's JF-17 combat aircraft as it has better engine, radar system and electronic warfare suit, besides an edge in the overall technology. "The biggest difference, of course, is the air-to-air refuelling which is non-existent in the competitor's plane," he said.

Price Breakup

Giving a break-up of the cost components, Madhavan said the basic price of the aircraft will be around Rs 25,000 crore while Rs 11,000 crore will be used for ground support equipment and other required infrastructure at the bases and around Rs 7,000 for basic customs duty and output GST. The HAL chairman said the cost for each fighter version of the aircraft will be Rs 309 crore and Rs 280 crore for the trainer. "The price is tight but we are fine with it," Madhavan said.

Second Production Line

Under the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, India is looking forward to increasing its defence manufacturing capabilities, said Rajnath Singh, who inaugurated Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's second TEJAS production plant here. Madhavan also said that Phase- 1 of the facility, getting ready on 35 acres, will enable HAL enhance its production capacity to 16 from the current eight aircraft every year. HAL said the 83 TEJAS MK-1A aircraft will be produced in two production lines here with over 500 plus production partners across India.