India approves purchase of 83 Tejas LCA platforms

India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the INR₹457bn (US$6.4bn) purchase of 83 Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) Tejas Light Combat Aircraft for the Indian Air Force on January 13.

Approval of the procurement was announced the same day by the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB). As part of the acquisition, India will procure 73 examples of the indigenously developed single-seat Tejas Mk.1A fighter, as well as ten two-seat Tejas Mk.1 trainers. The PIB did not disclose when the scheduled deliveries under this new order would begin.

HAL Tejas Mk1 FOC-standard [HAL]
India's Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the purchase of 73 single-seat Tejas Mk.1A fighters and ten two-seat Mk.1 trainers from Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) on January 13. Pictured is the first final operational clearance (FOC)-standard Tejas Mk.1, serial LA-5018, which was handed over to the Indian Air Force on May 27, 2020. HAL

In the press release, the PIB outlined that this order is the first of the Indian Ministry of Defence’s ‘Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)’ initiative. This project seeks to procure combat aircraft that feature 50% worth of indigenously developed content. The ministry anticipates that this percentage will progressively reach 60% by the end of the programme.

On the same day, the CCS also appropriated INR₹12bn (US$164.3m) worth of funds for the design and development of infrastructure related to the Tejas acquisition. The PIB states that this new infrastructure will allow the “IAF to sustain the [LCA] fleet more efficiently and effectively due to [the] availability of repair infrastructure at respective bases.”

The PIB describes the Tejas Mk.1A LCA as a “state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft” that will be equipped with a number of “critical operational capabilities.” Powered by a single GE Aviation F404 afterburning turbofan engine, the platform will feature Elta Systems’ EL/M-2052 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, as well as an electronic warfare suite. It will also have an air-to-air refuelling capability and can be equipped with beyond-visual range (BVR) missiles, as well as a variety of other munitions.