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Aero India 2021: HAL awarded contract for 83 Tejas LCA aircraft

The Indian government has formally awarded state-owned company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) a contract to produce 83 indigenously designed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) for the Indian Air Force (IAF), including 73 Mk 1A fighters and 10 Mk 1 dual-seat trainers.

The acquisition of the aircraft for INR456.96 billion (USD6.27 billion) along with work on the design and construction of related infrastructure for INR12 billion (USD164.6 million), had been approved by India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved on 13 January. The contract with HAL was signed on 3 February at the Aero India 2021 defence exhibition in Bangalore.

The Indian government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) referred to the deal as “the largest-ever defence contract for indigenous manufacture till date”, adding that the move provides “great impetus to the indigenous fighter aircraft capability of the nation”.

Deliveries of all 83 aircraft are expected to be completed within the next eight years, with HAL set to supply the first three aircraft three years from now, and 16 aircraft per year over the following five years, according to the PIB. The contract award comes only a day after HAL opened a second production facility in Bangalore to augment its production capacity to 16 fighters per year and ensure the timely supply of the aircraft.

The PIB noted that this is the first procurement under the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) ‘Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed, and Manufactured)’ category of combat aircraft featuring an indigenous content of 50%, which is expected to progressively reach 60% by the end of the programme. About 250 out of 344 systems fitted in the aircraft are expected to be indigenous.

As Janes reported, the LCA Mk 1A, which was designed by the government-run Aeronautical Development Agency, is still under development.

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