IAF to procure 83 Tejas fighters from HAL in $5.45 billion deal


HAL Tejas: Indian Air Force will acquire 83 light combat fighter Tejas from public sector aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Rs 39,000 crore deal. This will be the second big order for the indigenously designed and developed fighter by the Air Force.

Earlier, the cost of this deal was pegged at Rs 56,500 crore ($7.90 billion) that had stalled the negotiations between the government and the state owned aircraft major.

According to a report in Times of India, the HAL agreed to reduce the cost of the aircraft and its lifecycle cost by around Rs 17,000 crore after exhaustive negotiations.

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According to the report, the procurement file will now be sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for the final approval.

The file to procure Tejas fighters could be cleared before March 31 and HAL could start deliveries three years after signing the contract.

Indian Air Force has earlier placed two orders for supply 40 Tejas aircraft to the company at a cumulative cost of over Rs 8,800 crore ($1.23 billion). The new contract will take the total number of Tejas order to over 120 fighters.

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Salient features of Tejas Mark-1A

Tejas Mark-1A fighters are likely to come with 43 upgrades over the Mark-1 jets. These modifications include among other things:

1. Improved maintainability,

2. AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar,

3. Air-to-air refueling,

4. Long range beyond visual range (BVR) missiles,

5. Advanced electronic warfare aimed at jamming the enemy’s radars and missiles

The Defence Acquisitions Council has first approved the induction of 83 Tejas fighter aircrafts at a cost of Rs 49,797 crore in 2016.

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The HAL responded with a quotation of approximately Rs 56,500 crore and this allegedly led to prolonged negotiations over cost.

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