The Defence Acquisition Council has today (7 November) approved a proposal for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to acquire 83 Mk 1A variant of the Tejas (previously known as the Light Combat Aircraft) at a cost of Rs. 50,025 crores.
This is the first big production order for the Tejas. Previous orders had been limited to one or two squadron strengths. This order more or less ensures the continuity of Tejas’ development into a mature light multi-role aircraft for the IAF.
The Tejas programme has been subject to severe scrutiny and criticism in the past. But with this order the Tejas’ potential utility to the IAF has been conceded. You can read more about short-nearsightedness of the criticism leveled at Tejas in this article. We quote:
With a home-grown fighter, the IAF gets a weapon that it can tinker with in unlimited amounts without having to seek approval from vendors guided by their own narrow interests. It gets the freedom to not treat that weapon as a scarce resource that has to be rationed across the breadth of the national border and not worry about treating as a scarce resource. And with the technological know-how as well as an industrial ecosystem largely in place, the development of the next generation of fighter is bound to be a little smoother, a little less uncertain, and constrained by fewer technological hurdles than the LCA was.
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