SOURCE: Anand SG / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
With Tejas MK-2 Program all set to go official by end of this year, HAL, Government of India along with Indian Air Force have set in motion plans to further augment production capabilities of the LCA-Tejas which not only be able to handle demands for 200 more Tejas MK-2 Variant but also be able cater to export market in near future .
With only 40 MK1 aircrafts ordered by IAF initially, HAL using it’s using two production facilities in Bengaluru was able to produce 8 aircraft per year, with MK1-A all set to become reality soon, production facility will now be further augmented to 16 by end of 2019.
HAL with fresh orders for 83 MK1-A wants to further increase production capabilities by end of 2020 to 18 aircraft per year and later upscale it to 21 and later to 24 by the time MK1-A production stabilises by mid of 2022-23.
With News coming in that MK-2 project too will be cleared soon and IAF already has committed to procuring 201 units of the new variant. MK-2 variant will enter production once production run of MK1-A is completed. With HAL already augmenting its current facilities to produce 24 aircraft in a year by 2022-23, and with larger orders likely to be secured for MK-2 by 2024 HAL will also be able to complete deliveries of 200 plus order of MK-2 within 5-6 year period which help IAF modernise at a much faster rate.
HAL and DRDO which have been in talks with few countries for possible export of Tejas MK1A and MK2 aircraft will now have greater chances of securing a deal with the interested client due to the massive order placed by IAF. With Backing of IAF and recent flew sorties to promote LCA-Tejas with visiting foreign dignitaries HAL and DRDO are confident that positive impression generated by huge order book and with a stable product in hand, it will be able to generate export orders after facing years of criticism and bad press.
Participation and excellent flight demonstration of LCA-Tejas in Bahrain International Air Show 2016 was instrumental step to prove its worth to the world and impressed many, Aero India 2017 was another opportunity for India to further consolidate positive Global impression of LCA-Tejas which was able to generate further interest among clients.
According to HAL officials, Many Clients were also intrigued by LCA-Tejas Trainer so much so that now HAL has started its own internal project to develop a two-seat Lead-In Flight Trainer (LIFT) based on LCA-Tejas Trainer which can be marketed Internationally as an aircraft which can be used to prepare pilots for flying actual combat aircraft which can also double up as light attack plane with the ability to use precision-guided weapons when required .
HAL needs a pat on the back since it was only organisation which truly understood the growth potential of LCA-Tejas after sensed that orders for other fighter aircraft which it was producing were fast drying up it made renewed efforts to bring focus back on LCA-Tejas and successfully convinced Current Government and IAF to let it develop an Upgraded LCA-Tejas aircrafts .
MK-1A is becoming a reality now due to hectic efforts made by HAL, who took upon themselves to convince IAF and Government that they can deliver a better product from existing platform of MK1. HAL also played a crucial role in MK-2 becoming a reality with help from DRDO due to which Government junked plans to develop F-16 or Gripen in India.
HAL is all set to move away from being a production agency to final Assembler now with the participation of Private defence sector companies, who are now increasingly producing components for LCA-Tejas program. The MK-2 program will set the tone for the growth of Aerospace consortium in India which will pave way for the establishment of a local Aerospace ecosystem in India which will ensure that it is able to sustain many other upcoming projects like AMCA and Ghatak UCAV.