The Indian Defence Ministry recently gave a green light for the much-awaited deal for the purchase of 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark 1A Tejas aircraft from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
According to sources close to the negotiations and analysis by the EurAsian Times, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) have finally agreed on the price of the Tejas Mark 1A light combat aircraft (LCA) after months of intense negotiations.
The deal for the 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark 1A Tejas aircraft which was pegged at around Rs 56,500 crore earlier has been finalized now at Rs 39,000 crore.
As a result, per aircraft cost has now come down to about Rs 450 crore from an earlier cost of about Rs 680 crores. The big fall in price is a direct result of IAF cutting down on its demand list including spares, logistics support and other issues and HAL cutting down its profit of 12 per cent to a little over 6 per cent.
Now HAL is awaiting a formal signing of the contract for building 83 Tejas Mark 1A fighters. According to the agreed schedule, delivery of the Mark 1A will begin 36 months after the contract date. If the order is placed at the start of 2020, Tejas Mark IA deliveries will start in 2023.
With 16 fighters to be delivered each year, it would take another five years to deliver all 83 fighters – that is by 2028.
Girish Deodhare, chief of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) described Tejas Mark 1A fighter as a bridge between the current Tejas Mark 1 and the Mark 2 fighter that ADA is developing. He says the latter will be, from the standpoint of size, sophistication and capability, far superior to the Mark 1 fighter.