New Delhi: After the government approved the largest indigenous defence procurement deal worth about Rs 48,000 crores to buy 83 LCA Tejas Mark1A fighter jets, IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria on Thursday (January 14) said that it is a huge step for IAF capability building.
The IAF chief told ANI, “It is also a big boost to our indigenous industry. It is also a big recognition of our designers. It is a huge step for the Indian Air Force and for the country.”
RKS Bhadauria said, “The 83 aircraft will look after four squadrons. The current strength of the two squadron plan of LCA will now increase to six. Essentially the deployment will be frontline,” adding “Indian aircraft Tejas far better and advanced than the Chinese and Pakistan joint venture JF-17 fighter.”
On Wednesday, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said that it was a boost for the Centre`s Make in India initiative and that the ultimate objective is to reach a stage where the country can win conflicts with home-made weapon systems.
Rawat told ANI, “Our ultimate objective is to engage in and win future conflicts with home-made solutions,” adding “Our focus will remain on indigenisation and efforts to progressively support Atmanirbhar Bharat is our mission. We hope to see our Air Force touch the sky with glory with aircraft that has major components including engines that are Made in India.”
Notably, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the largest indigenous defence procurement deal worth about Rs 48,000 crores to buy 83 LCA Tejas Mark1A fighter jets. The deal to be signed in the next few days with HAL would strengthen the Indian Air Force`s fleet of homegrown fighter jet `LCA-Tejas` and overall combat capability.”
This deal is expected to be a game-changer for self-reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted to announce the final approval given to the mega deal. He further said that the indigenous content of the LCA-Tejas was 50 per cent in the MK1A variant and it would be enhanced to 60 per cent by the end of the programme.
The deal would be a major boost for the IAF and help it to arrest the fall in the number of its fighter aircraft squadrons.Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A variant is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft.
The Light Combat Aircraft is reportedly equipped with critical operational capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile, Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite and Air to Air Refuelling (AAR).
It would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force, which has already inducted a batch of Tejas aircraft as part of its initial order of 40 jets.
In a statement, the defence ministry said the government approved procurement of 73 LCA Tejas of Mk-1A variant and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 trainer aircraft at the cost of Rs 45,696 crore along with design and development of infrastructure worth Rs 1,202 crore.
The Indian armed forces are projected to spend around USD 130 billion in capital procurement in the next five years.