Pvt firms to produce Tejas body, wings; HAL to play integrator

NEW DELHI: In a path-breaking move, part-production of the Light Combat Aircraft, The Tejas, has been outsourced to Indian private companies, with an aim to speed up production to cover up the dwindling number of Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets.

Pvt firms to produce Tejas body, wings; HAL to play integrator

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editorial@tribune.com

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 19

In a path-breaking move, part-production of the Light Combat Aircraft, The Tejas, has been outsourced to Indian private companies, with an aim to speed up production to cover up the dwindling number of Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets.

The IAF is operating with 33 squadrons (16-18 planes each) as against the need for 42 squadrons mandated to effectively fight a simultaneous two-front war with Pakistan and China.

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T Suvarna Raju, Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), said, “We are getting fuselage (body) made by private companies and the HAL, in future, will just be an integrator. We have outsourced fuselage and the wing production to three companies and these have to come back with deliveries in two years.”

This was part of a three-pronged plan to speed up Tejas production, Raju said.

There are 123 Tejas jets – in two variants — on order and HAL has an installed capacity of producing only eight planes every year. In the past, a private company made the hull (body) of the nuclear submarine INS Arihant.

Raju said, “The increased production rate will be visible from 2018 when we will be able to provide 16 planes per year under a Rs 1,300-crore expansion project (at the HAL facility in Bangalore).”

The HAL CMD said the second part of the “increase-production plan” is to use the existing facility of the hawk trainer jets and a pilot project has already started. 

The third part involves outsourcing to private companies, thus turning HAL into an integrator – a concept adopted by leading foreign manufacturers. This will mean the Tejas fleet of 123 jets can be delivered earlier than planned.

The IAF is operating with 33 squadrons (16-18 planes each) as against the need for 42 squadrons mandated to effectively fight a simultaneous two-front war with Pakistan and China.

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