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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, granted approval for the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the procurement of 97 additional LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jets on November 30, 2023.

Typically, following the AoN, contracts are negotiated with the manufacturers and then submitted to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by the Prime Minister. However, since the aircraft to be procured were previously ordered in 2021, including a deal for 83 Tejas Mk1A fighter jets, the transaction is likely to proceed smoothly. The Indian Air Force (IAF) does not anticipate requesting any significant changes to the aircraft, and HAL is working to increase the indigenous content from the current 65% to 80% for the second batch.

According to HAL sources, the unit cost of the Tejas Mk1A is unlikely to increase, with each jet costing no more than Rs 315 crore. This is because the manufacturing facilities and supply lines are already established, and inflation-related price adjustments are unlikely to be factored in since the second-order book was cleared in less than two years. The IAF and HAL anticipate finalizing the contract by mid-2024.

HAL has expanded its LCA-Tejas production line by opening its Nashik assembly line, which previously produced Su-30MKI fighter jets, to now manufacture LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jets. With three LCA-Tejas production lines, HAL is capable of delivering 24 aircraft per year starting in 2026, facilitating the quicker induction of the 97 LCA-Tejas Mk1A jets scheduled for next year’s order.

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