New Delhi: – Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that the union cabinet has approved the purchase of 83 Tejas fighter jets by expressing confidence that the Tejas will prove to be a game-changer for indigenous manufacture of defence equipment. This defence deal is worth nearly Rs 480 billion, and the Defence Minister said that this is the first domestic defence equipment transaction of this magnitude. The Defence Minister claimed that Tejas would become the backbone of the Indian Air Force (IAF), in the future.
Eighty-three fighter jets of the Tejas Mark-1A version will be supplied to the IAF. Mark-1A has been developed on the Tejas with 43 modifications. This is a 4.5th generation super-advanced fighter jet, and the weapon systems will be fitted according to the requirements of the IAF. These include Astra Mark-1 air-to-air missiles. Tejas Mark-1A will be equipped with AEAS radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missiles, Electronic Warfare Suite (EW) and capability to refuel in mid-air.
The Defence Minister expressed confidence that the Tejas project will encourage the domestic defence equipment industry. Currently, the indigenous component in Tejas is around 50%, and it will be taken to 60% shortly. It is claimed that Tejas will have 90% indigenisation in the next few years. Despite this, a question is being raised whether Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the manufacturer of Tejas, speed up Tejas’s manufacturing? Currently, HAL can manufacture 8 Tejas per year. But new projects have been started at Nashik and Bengaluru to increase this speed.
Confidence is being expressed that this will accelerate the production of Tejas, and they will be supplied to the IAF earlier than expected. Nearly 500 domestic companies are participating in the Tejas project. It is being said that this will increase employment opportunities. As per defence experts, more advanced versions of Tejas will be developed in the future.