IAF to acquire 83 Tejas fighter jets for $5.4bn from HAL

17 February 2020 (Last Updated February 17th, 2020 15:17)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has reportedly finalised the acquisition of 83 single-engine Tejas Mark-1A light combat aircraft (LCA) fighter jets.

IAF to acquire 83 Tejas fighter jets for $5.4bn from HAL
IAF to acquire 83 single-engine Tejas Mark-1A LCA fighter jets. Credit: Rajan Manickavasagam.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has reportedly finalised the acquisition of 83 single-engine Tejas Mark-1A light combat aircraft (LCA) fighter jets.

The deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) also includes maintenance and infrastructure.

Initially, HAL quoted nearly Rs565bn ($7.9bn) but the contract price has now decreased to a final amount of up to Rs390bn ($5.4bn), reported The Times of India (TOI).

The Mark-1A fighter jets are expected to be delivered three years after the agreement has been signed.

Under the deal, the Mark-1A jets will feature 43 improvements.

Some of the enhancements include active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, long-range beyond visual range missiles, air-to-air refuelling and advanced electronic warfare.

A source was quoted by TOI as saying: “With the contract price now settled at Rs390bn, the procurement file is being sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security for the final nod.

“It should be cleared before this fiscal ends on March 31. Once the contract is inked, HAL promises to begin deliveries of the Mark-1A jets in three years.”

The procurement proposal for 83 Tejas was first approved in November 2016 by the Defence Acquisitions Council.

In 2017, the IAF issued a request for proposal to HAL for the procurement.

Another source was quoted by the publication as saying: “The flight testing for Tejas Mark-1A will hopefully be completed by 2022. After these 123 fighters, the IAF is also looking to induct 170 Tejas Mark-2 or the medium weight fighter (MWF) jets with more powerful engines and advanced avionics.”

In February last year, India’s light combat aircraft was given final operational clearance by Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC).