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India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is accelerating production of the LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jet, aiming to build 24 aircraft annually. This announcement by HAL chief CB Ananthakrishnan signifies a significant boost to the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) fighter strength.

Previously, HAL operated under a “Contracted Schedule” with a production rate of 16 Tejas Mk1A jets per year. The new plan, dubbed the “Enhanced Delivery Schedule,” leverages HAL’s existing three production facilities: two Bengaluru lines (each producing 8 aircraft) and a new line in Nashik with an identical capacity. This combined capacity allows HAL to reach the target of 24 jets annually.

However, the story goes beyond internal expansion. HAL is strategically involving private Indian companies. These companies will be entrusted with manufacturing key Tejas Mk1A assemblies, including the front fuselage, centre fuselage, rear fuselage, wings, and potentially four additional full structures.

The benefits are twofold. Firstly, private industry participation streamlines production and paves the way for potentially scaling up to 28 jets per year. This “backup production line” envisioned by HAL can be activated for any possible delays that might occur. Secondly, it fosters India’s indigenous defence capabilities by integrating private players into a crucial national project.

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