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MoD issues tender to buy 97 LCA from HAL

The tender, issued last month, starts the ball rolling to equip the IAF with 180 home-grown fighters to replace the MiG variants like MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-27 that are on their last leg after decades of service.
alyan Ray
Last Updated : 12 April 2024, 21:35 IST
Last Updated : 12 April 2024, 21:35 IST

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New Delhi, April 12: The Defence Ministry has issued a tender to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bengaluru to procure 97 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft for the Indian Air Force at an approximate cost of about Rs 65,000 crore to boost the IAF’s squadron strength.

The tender, issued last month, starts the ball rolling to equip the IAF with 180 home-grown fighters to replace the MiG variants like MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-27 that are on their last leg after decades of service.

The forward movement on Tejas LCA takes place nearly four months after the Defence Ministry cleared the purchase of more home-grown fighters giving a big boost to the indigenous aircraft manufacturing capabilities.

The new tender is set to be the largest ever order for indigenous military hardware to be placed by the Indian government. The HAL has been given three months to respond, according to industry sources. The new LCA Mk1A jets is expected to have more than 65% indigenous content.

The Defence Ministry has already placed an order for 83 Tejas Mk1A jets in Feb 2021 worth Rs 47,500 crore and the first aircraft is expected to be delivered within a few weeks.

Last month the first Tejas LCA Mk1A (LA 5033) took to the skies in Bengaluru and flew for 18 minutes. The aircraft will have an advanced electronic RADAR, warfare suite, communication systems, additional combat capability and improved maintenance features.

In a statement, the state-owned aircraft manufacturer had said that “the country could look forward to early induction of the Tejas Mk1A by the IAF and more numbers through the three lines of production established at HAL.”

The delivery of the 97 combat jets will start only after HAL completes the previous contract of delivering 83 similar aircraft. The features in these aircraft will be much more than what the first 40 Tejas LCA that the IAF has been flying.

A naval version of the LCA is also in the works even as the Cabinet Committee on Security has approved the design and development of a home-grown fifth generation fighter aircraft known as AMCA or Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.

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Published 12 April 2024, 21:35 IST

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