New Delhi: The cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for the procurement of 83 LCA (Light Combat Aircrafts) from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for Indian Air Force (IAF). The cabinet meeting held in New Delhi on January 13, has given its nod for the procurement of 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircraft at the cost of Rs 45,696 crore along with design and development of infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 1,202 crore.
Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A variant is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft. This aircraft is 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) would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of IAF. It is the first "Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)" category procurement of combat aircraft with an indigenous content of 50 percent which will progressively reach 60 percent by the end of the programme.
"I recall as Chairman HAL, that IOC (initial operational clearance) was achieved on December 20, 2013, and we delivered first Series Production aircraft (SP-1) to Air Chief Arup Raha in the presence of Shri Manohar Parrikar, the then Raksha Mantri on January 17, 2015 (in just 13 months). The future-LCA is important for us" said former HAL CMD Dr RK Tyagi speaking to PSU Watch. "However I have three suggestions to make; one, we must form a national advisory group of LCA for effective execution and tech adoptions, two, HAL also needs to increase Annual production capacity and three, LCA skills now be converted into a new National program-IRTA(Indian Regional Transport Aircraft" Tyagi added.
The cabinet has also approved infrastructure development by IAF under the project to enable them to handle repairs or servicing at their base depot so that the turnaround time would get reduced for mission-critical systems and would lead to the increased availability of aircraft for operational exploitation. This would enable IAF to sustain the fleet more efficiently and effectively due to the availability of repair infrastructure at respective bases.
Under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, India is continuously growing in its power to indigenously design, develop and manufacture advanced cutting-edge technologies and systems in the Defence Sector. The manufacturing of Light Combat Aircraft by HAL will give a further push to Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative and boost indigenisation of defence production and the defence industry in the country. About 500 Indian companies including MSMEs in the design and manufacturing sectors will be working with HAL in this procurement. The programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant Aatmanirbhar-self-sustaining ecosystem.
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