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SOURCE: VISHAL KARPE / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

How Indigenous is LCA-Tejas has been the focus of discussion in India since the time it took its first flight in 2001. Over the years slowly but steadily efforts have been made to diversify the local supply chain and also replace foreign imported subsystems and components with locally manufactured ones and according to the Defence ministry at present indigenous content of the LCA-Tejas presently stands at 75.5% by numbers and 59.7% by Value of the aircraft.

American F404-GE-IN20 after-burning turbofan engine remains the single most expensive imported system in the LCA-Tejas Mk1 which averages around $5 million per unit for each engine. Elta’s EL/M-2032 radar-based hybrid Indo-Israeli system could be the second most expensive imported system which could be around $3 million per radar. A new Martin-Baker ejection seat runs in the neighborhood of quarter-million-dollar range per unit which will make it the third most expensive imported system in the LCA-Tejas Mk1.

Cobham Quartz radome from the United Kingdom and Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23 mm autocannon from Russia are some of the other systems which are imported by India. SDR (Software Defined Radio from Isreal will come onboard all FOC which will also see the Inflight refueling probe connecting section supplied by Cobham. LCA-Tejas Mk1 also features the Israeli Elbit DASH-IV Helmet Mounted Display and Sight (HMDS) system.

According to HAL, LCA-Tejas Mk1 has around 344 Line Replaceable Units (LRU) out of which 210 are locally produced while around 134 LRUs are imported from foreign companies. HAL plans to start local production of further 42 LRUs out of 134 LRUs which are still imported which will further improve the indigenization objective and reduce import content in the aircraft further.

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