Private Sector

CDS pushes for indigenisation, IAF may get more Tejas fighter jets

IAF to get 83 Tejas fighter jets 

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat has said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will buy another 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) fighter jets as it “would rather take the indigenous fighter.”

Past acquisitions

In 2006, the IAF had placed an order for 20 Tejas aircraft with another 20 being ordered in 2010. Another deal for 83 aircraft — for the upgraded Tejas Mark-1A — was inked in February this year, by which time only 16 of the 40 aircrafts earlier ordered had been delivered by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Initial negotiations

As TOI reported, it was in November 2016 that the Defence Acquisitions Council had first approved the procurement of 83 Tejas jets at a cost of Rs 49,797 crore. But HAL had responded with a quote of around Rs 56,500 crore, which led to protracted cost negotiations.

Price slashed

The overall cost of IAF acquiring 83 single-engine Tejas fighters and their support package from defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was slashed from the earlier Rs 56,500 crore to Rs 39,000 crore

Urgent need
Down to just 30 fighter squadrons (each has 18 jets) when at least 42 are required for the requisite deterrence against Pakistan and China, the IAF is banking upon the long-delayed light combat aircraft Tejas to make up the free fall in numbers.

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