New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is expected to place an order with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to acquire 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighters. The deal is likely to be valued around Rs 45,000 crores and if it falls through, it will be a shot in the arm for the cash-strapped PSU.
The IAF had issued a tender for 83 LCAs around 2 years ago. However, the project was stuck because of pricing issue as the government and the IAF felt that the price being offered by HAL was slightly steep.
"The cost committee of the Defence Ministry has determined the cost of the 83 LCA Mark 1A aircraft around Rs 45,000 crores and the Indian Air Force is now expected to place orders for these planes in the next few weeks," senior defence sources said.
The LCAs have been designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). DRDO chief G Satheesh Reddy had presented the Final Operational Clearance (IOC) certificate for the LCA to the IAF and the Defence Ministry at Aero India show earlier this year.
According to sources, this would be the first-of-its-kind order for any Indian company of this value and would give a major boost to indigenous defence manufacturing. Over 65 percent of the Rs 45,000 crores would remain with the country and would help in creating jobs in both private and public sectors.