The Indian Air Force (IAF) has issued the request for proposal (RFP) for the acquisition of 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, official sources said today (20 December). The Ministry of Defence had cleared the proposal to them from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Of the 83, 73 will be an upgraded version – Mark-1A – and the remaining 10 will be a twin seat trainer version. HAL will submit its proposal within 90 days. HAL is already in the process of making 40 Tejas jets as per the final operational clearance (FOC) standards set by the IAF. At the current pace, the Mark 1-A will be ready for its first flight by 2019.
In November 2016, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by then Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar had approved procurement of 83 Mark 1-A planes. In December 2015, the IAF indicated the requirement of around 100 MarK 1-A aircraft, for which a formal order is yet to be placed. Manufacturing is expected to take place between 2018 and 2022-23.
There are 123 Tejas jets of two variants that the Defence Ministry is looking to procure. Orders for 40 planes of the base version have already been placed and they are currently under production. Mark 1-A will have 43 upgrades over the base version.
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