R Madhavan, Chairman and Managing Director of Government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) while speaking to, has said that deal for 83 Tejas Mk1A contract between IAF and HAL will be inked by end of 2020 and aircraft deliveries will begin from early 2024 onwards and whole order will be concluded within 5 years.

Madhavan stressed that HAL has capability in place to scale up the production line if asked by IAF from 16 to 20 per annum. While the deal for 83 upgraded Tejas Mk1A with improved Avionics and Radar has been cleared for over a year now after the Price negotiation committee brought down the cost after hectic negotiation with HAL.

Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria a few weeks back had said in an interview to a media house that the contract will be inked by mid of this year but that has not happened due to unknown reasons, while officials have been tight-lipped about the reasons behind delays in inking the deal for 83 Tejas Mk1A jets, people will know-how about the situation have told that it is not in hands of key players due to current situations in the country.

The supply chain of the LCA-Tejas program has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 situation in the country and HAL is finding it hard to resume production of the FOC Configuration LCA-Tejas Mk1 after the production line was opened after lockdown of over a month. Some of the Country’s MSME sectors that are part of the supply chain might not survive and alternative partners could need to be established before production can resume.

While some of the equipment due come from abroad are also stuck or delayed due to COVID-19 issues, HAL has been assured that supplies will resume soon in coming weeks but fear is mostly coming from the Country’s MSME sectors which are not full-time Private defense sector companies and mostly rely on a major chunk of orders from other sectors due to which their economic conditions are not stable.

The supply chain issue has been taken up and will be resolved but it will take some time to fix the issue due to which HAL has complete spares and supplies of equipment only for first four FOC jets out of which the first one already has been handed over to the air force and the second one is ready for its first flight and two other will commence first flight in next few weeks.

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