NEW DELHI: The Cabinet Committee on Security on Wednesday approved the purchase of 73 LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) fighter jets and 10 trainer aircraft at a cost of Rs. 45,696 crore.
The Tejas falls in the first indigenously designed, developed and manufactured category of combat aircraft (with an indigenous content of 50 per cent that will reach 60 per cent by the end of the programme), the government statement said.
"This deal will be a self-reliance game changer in defence manufacturing," Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said. The Tejas is going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in the years to come and incorporates a large number of new technologies, many of which were never attempted before.
The Tejas has been designed by the Aircraft Development Agency, which falls under the Defence Research and Development Organisation, and has been manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The HAL has already set up second line manufacturing facilities at its Nasik and Bengaluru Divisions.
"The decision taken will considerably expand the current LCA ecosystem and help in creating new job opportunities," the minister said. The Cabinet has also approved infrastructure development by IAF under the project to enable them to handle repairs or servicing at their base depot, so that the turnaround time would get reduced for mission critical systems and would lead to increased availability of aircraft for operational exploitation. This would enable IAF to sustain the fleet more efficiently and effectively.