A deal for 83 additional (and advanced) indigenous fighter jets LCA Tejas (LCA-Mark 1A) for the Air Force is going to be done soon. According to the information, the proposal has been sent to the CCS headed by the PM. In such a situation, the deal may be done with HAL before the Aero India show (3-5 February). In March last year, the Ministry of Defense approved this deal of Rs 38 thousand crores. After the approval of CCS, HAL is expected to hand over the first LCA MK One-A to the Air Force by the year 2022.
The target is to hand over all 83 aircraft to the Air Force by the year 2029. These 83 aircraft of the Air Force will bear at least six squadrons. A squadron consists of 16-18 fighter aircraft. These 83 Mark One-A Fighter jets are more advanced and deadly than the old deal Mark One.
In March last year, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by the Minister of Defense had approved the purchase of 83 additional Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas ‘Mark One-A’ under ‘Make in India’. Tejas will prove to be the ‘backbone’ of the Indian Air Force. Because the Ministry of Defense inked a deal of 40 Tejas aircraft in the year 2016 with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the government institution that makes Tejas. At least 18 of those Tejas aircraft have been delivered to the Indian Air Force and are deployed in the ‘Flying Dagger’ squadron at Sulur Airbase in Tamil Nadu.
Although the Defense Ministry has not revealed the price of this deal, it is believed that the total value of this deal is Rs 38 thousand crores. That is, the cost of a fighter jet is about four and a half crores, which is very low. The Rafale fighter aircraft that India has taken from France is worth about 1600 crores rupees including Missiles and other weapons.
The deal of these 83 Tejas jets for a long time was stuck due to the price. The Air Force was adamant on reducing the price of the deal. However, it is not clear whether the Tejas’s weapons and missiles are also involved in this deal. But the 40 Tejas deal that was signed in the year 2016 also included arms.
These 83 Mark One-A Fighter jets are more advanced than the old deal Mark One. These Tejas will be equipped with BVR missile i.e. Beyond Visual Range Missile, which can hit the target even 40-50 kilometres away from the eyes. They have been equipped with the technology of air to air refuelling. Both these techniques are not in the ‘IOC’ version of Mark-One Tejas.
The LCA Mark One-A has an EW (Electronic Warfare Suite), through which if a missile is locked on the Tejas, the pilot will be immediately aware of the sensor in the cockpit. The new Tejas will also have a radar warning system, that means the pilot will be alerted as soon as the enemy is caught in the radar.
Mark One-A will be equipped with special AISA radars which will further increase the capabilities of Tejas so that it won’t enemy’s radar easily. For the last time, the Air Force’s squadron has been steadily decreasing. At present, the Air Force has 30 squadrons, while India needs at least 42 squadrons to deal with China and Pakistan on two fronts.