No changes in Tejas jet design: IAF Chief

NEW DELHI: Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa today countered critics, saying the Indian Air Force had not changed any specification of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and separately ruled out cutting down on the size of his force.

editorial@tribune.com

Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 31

Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa today countered critics, saying the Indian Air Force had not changed any specification of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and separately ruled out cutting down on the size of his force.

On Tejas, he said: “We have been giving concessions to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) but we will not get any concession from adversary in war.” The IAF was all for indigenisation but the LCA’s production commitment is delayed by over six years.

The IAF Chief was speaking at the opening of the two-day Sqn Leader KK ‘Jumbo’ Majumdar International Conference here. “The IAF has not shifted any goal posts as alleged. The development (of the Tejas) has taken such an incredibly long time that armament and technology has gone obsolete,” the IAF Chief said, slamming media reports that IAF was changing goalposts.

He said: “To encourage HAL in manufacturing the LCA, we have maintained the requirements of the first 20 LCA at standards issued in 1985.” Even though the Squadron was formed in June 2016, it is so equipped with only 10 aircraft.

The IAF Chief said: “Our policy envisages a progressive improvement in scale of indigenisation. Forty LCA Mark-I have been ordered and Request for Proposal has been issued for 83 LCA Mark-IA and will be procuring 12 Squadrons of LCA Mark-2 and then finally the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.” He cited the backlog with HAL due to long overhaul cycle of existing fleet of planes. “To overcome our production delays and the falling number of fighter jets, we had to make emergency purchases as such planes are needed to win the high-end fight.

He predicted that air power would remain a major player in future conflict. “Not only is superior air power needed to win a conflict, it’s required for deterrence too,” he said.

‘No cut in force size’ 

  • Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa ruled out cutting down on the size of his force
  • “Some people suggest we need to reduce our manpower and put money in Capital Budget. There is no way we can cut our manpower to pay for our capital acquisitions,” he said
  • Reeling out figures, he said the entire salary bill of the IAF is Rs 16,621 crore, while the capital expenditure is Rs 35,407 crore. “We need Rs 8,870 crore for fuel and maintenance,” he said

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