The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that a proposal for doubling the production of indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is being processed.
Indian Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh told Parliament said that the proposal suggests an increase in the present production capacity of eight aircrafts annually, stretching to produce a total of 16 aircraft.
The country’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has recommended an expenditure of Rs12.59bn ($186.2m), with 50% funding by HAL, 25% by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and 25% by the Indian Navy.
Inderjit Singh said that a timeline of 36 months from the date of sanction has been suggested.
Meanwhile, approximately 80 upgraded version LCA Mk 1A featuring a wide range of capabilities such as the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, beyond visual range (BVR) missiles, air to air refuelling (AAR) capability and electronic warfare (EW) suite is under production at the company’s facility.
Developed by a consortium of five organisations pooled by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) under the DRDO, along with state-run Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) as the principal partner in the design of the aircraft, the LCA is set to replace the existing aging MiG 21 and MiG 23 aircraft for the Air Force.
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The IAF has ordered 40 Tejas single-seat, single-engine, lightweight, high-agility supersonic fighter aircraft, of which 20 were ordered under initial operational clearance (IOC) standards, while the rest were requisitioned as per final operational clearance (FOC) standards.
Powered by GE F404-GE-IN20 turbofan engine, the Tejas LCA features eight external hardpoints to carry stores, with three under each wing and a tailless compound delta platform.
The aircraft avionics suite includes quadruplex digital automatic flight control and can be armed with air-to-air, air-to-ground and anti-ship missiles, precision-guided munitions, rockets and bombs.
Weighing around 5450kg, the LAC has a maximum speed of 2,205km/h, maximum altitude of 15,200m, take-off weight of 13,500kg and a range of 3,000km.