Ministry Of Defence Releases Tenders For Acquiring 97 More Tejas Mk-1A Jets Worth Rs 65,000 Crore

Ujjwal Shrotryia

Apr 12, 2024, 02:48 PM | Updated 02:48 PM IST

Serially produced Tejas Mk-1A after its first flight. (X/ @HALHQBLR)
Serially produced Tejas Mk-1A after its first flight. (X/ @HALHQBLR)

The Ministry of Defence has released a tender to the public sector company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the procurement of 97 made-in-India LCA Mark 1A fighter jets, in a deal anticipated to cost Rs 65,000 crore.

This order is poised to become the largest-ever placed by the Indian government for indigenous military hardware.

HAL has three months to submit their response to the tender.

This comes just a fortnight after the first serial production Tejas Mk-1A jet took its inaugural flight in Bengaluru. The aircraft was airborne for over 18 minutes during the flight. It is expected to be delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the next three to four months.

HAL is already supplying the IAF with 83 Tejas MK-1A under a contract signed in 2021 worth Rs 48,000 crore.

This is in addition to the earlier order of 40 Tejas Mk-1 jets. The Tejas Mark 1 variants were initially introduced into the IAF in 2016, with the No. 45 Squadron ‘Flying Daggers’ and later in No. 18 Squadron ‘Flying Bullets’.

The decision to procure more Tejas comes at a critical time as the IAF seeks to modernise its fleet and replace aging MiG-series aircraft.

Tejas Mark 1A will be a more capable fighter than the original Mark 1 variant.

It will come with around 40 major and minor improvements over Mark 1. These improvements include the introduction of an active electronically scanned array radar for detection of enemy aircraft at greater ranges and resistance to jamming, and a faster turnaround time of each aircraft after each sortie.

With the new order, HAL will ramp up its production rate from the 10-12 jets per year to 24 jets per year.

HAL chief C B Ananthakrishnan said in an interview to Hindustan Times, "Our current goal is to deliver 24 aircraft from the Bengaluru and Nashik facilities by 2025-26."

As and when they are able to make 24 jets per year, HAL will look for increasing the rate to 30 aircraft per year.

"Once we have reached that goal, we can ramp up production to 30 aircraft per annum. It is possible if we can streamline the supply chain," the HAL chief added.

It is expected that with the increased production rate of 30 Tejas per year, HAL might be able to deliver the first 83 jets one year ahead of schedule in 2028 as opposed to 2029.

Staff Writer at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.

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