The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced plans to commence full-scale production of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in 2017.
Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was quoted by Defenseworld.net as saying, "As per my primary report, it is appreciated by other countries who are interested.
"By next year, we are starting full-scale production."
The supersonic fighter aircraft, which is single-seat, lightweight and highly-agileis being jointly manufactured by a consortium of five organisations including Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and the Aeronautical Development Agency is primarily designed to replace the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) ageing fleet of MiG-21 and MiG-23 aircraft.
Between 2015 and 2015, HAL will produce six Tejas fighter aircraft . It plans to increase the production up to eight and 16 aircraft each year.
By 2020, HAL expects to supply 40 Mark I LCA aircraft to the IAF, which is expected to field approximately 14 LCA squadrons.
The aircraft features eight external hardpoints to carry stores, with three under each wing and a tailless compound delta platform. It can also be armed with air-to-air, air-to-ground, and anti-ship missiles, precision-guided munitions, rockets and bombs.
Last week, the aircraft made its first oversees flight to Bahrain to represent India in the Bahrain International Airshow-2016, with an eye on foreign sales.