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India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is poised to deliver the first upgraded Tejas Mk1A fighter jets next month, marking a significant step forward in its indigenous fighter program. However, the anticipated procurement of an additional 97 jets beyond the existing 83 order has triggered a chain reaction throughout the Tejas ecosystem.

To meet the potential demand, HAL is encouraging its network of 85 private vendors to ramp up production capacity. Key players like Dynamatic Technologies, VEM Technologies, Alpha Tocol, L&T, National Aerospace Laboratory, and Tata Advanced Materials Ltd. are set to expand their capabilities to cater to the projected production of 180 Tejas Mk1A jets within the next 6-7 years.

This expansion plan involves establishing additional Tejas Mk1A production lines, gradually increasing output from 16 units per year in 2025 to 24 units per year by 2026-27 with the activation of a third production line in Nashik. Negotiations for the additional 97 jets are expected to conclude by year-end, potentially pushing annual production to 30 units by 2030. This would ensure timely delivery and facilitate a smooth transition to the more advanced Tejas Mk2 program.

Industry sources estimate that 70% of the Tejas Mk1A will be manufactured by Indian companies. Expanding production capacity across the supply chain is crucial to meeting domestic and potential export demands without impacting deliveries to the Indian Air Force (IAF). HAL has already offered the Tejas to Argentina and the Philippines and expects increased capacity to enable fulfilling export orders while maintaining IAF deliveries.

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