Govt sets up stiff targets for home production of Tejas

At present, only 50% of jet is made in India, while engine and radar come from US and Israel

Govt sets up stiff targets for home production of Tejas

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17

Getting a green signal on making the next version of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas, the government has set stiff targets on indigenisation of the jet.

It has tasked that a set of technologies, which have not been done in India before, be attempted and crucially laid out money for speeding up the manufacturing process.

Last week, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave a nod to the procurement of 83 LCA for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

The jets will be in two variants — 73 of these will be “Tejas Mk-1A” configuration, while 10 jets will be the “Tejas Mk-1” configuration used as a trainer aircraft. The project will cost Rs 45,696 crore.

At present, only 50 per cent of the jet is made in India, while the engine and the latest radar — called AESA — come from the US and Israel, respectively.

Currently, the aircraft has around 344 systems fitted in it and 210 systems are indigenous and 134 of them are imported, said a senior functionary.

By the time, the first aircraft gets produced by HAL, it is targeted that the imported systems will be reduced to approximately 80. Tejas is expected to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in years to come and is slated to be produced in high numbers. The production will be done at a new state-of-the-art facility in Bengaluru.

The HAL has created the facilities to house the additional production line of LCA. Once ready, the facility would be spread across 35 acres and a built-up area of 34,893 sq m. The phase 1 of the facility is ready and is spread across 24,077 sq m.

Specialised facilities and hangars for structural assembly of aircraft are being created and simulation software packages have been added.

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