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IAF to order 83 Tejas fighter jets in local manufacturing push

Indian Air Force's Tejas aircraft performs during rehearsals for the Aero India 2021, at the Yelahanka air base in Bengaluru on February 2. (PTI) (HT_PRINT)Premium
Indian Air Force's Tejas aircraft performs during rehearsals for the Aero India 2021, at the Yelahanka air base in Bengaluru on February 2. (PTI) (HT_PRINT)

  • The order was cleared by the Union cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month
  • Ahead of the formal contract signing ceremony, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday opened HAL’s second LCA plant in Bengaluru

NEW DELHI : The Indian Air Force will award a 48,000 crore order to state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for 83 light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas in a major push for the local manufacture of cutting-edge military hardware.

The order was cleared by the Union cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month.

Ahead of the formal contract signing ceremony, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday opened HAL’s second LCA plant in Bengaluru, which will double production capacity of the Tejas to 16 aircraft a year. The indigenously-developed LCA is being billed as the “backbone" of the air force’s fighter fleet in the years to come.

“HAL’s new LCA facility is an example of how ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ is shaping up and HAL deserves the largest indigenous order of 83 LCA Mk-IA," Singh said. “The LCA is the pride of India and sends the right message to others that India can make fighters of class in-house. The fighter is superior in many ways when compared to others fighters in its category, besides being cost effective," the minister said.

“We cannot depend on others on security issues and, therefore, will make HAL stronger, whatever it takes," Singh said.

All the 83 fighter jets would be delivered to IAF within a decade starting 36 months after the signing of the pact, HAL said. “The programme will catalyse the aerospace ecosystem in India and would enable India to be the epitome of the prime minister’s vision for Aatmanirbhar Bharat," it said.

The global business community had responded with “enthusiasm to the Indian economy’s revivalist fervour and Aero India will further showcase the nation’s accomplishment in defence manufacturing and position India as an innovative defence manufacturer", Singh told a gathering on the eve of the three-day Aero India show.

This year’s event is expected to see the signing of 200 preliminary pacts between Indian companies and their partners from abroad, Singh said. “The world has now started to recognize India as a trusted defence investment destination," he said

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