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In a significant development for India’s self-reliance in defense, the government issued a tender to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Friday for the purchase of a record-breaking 97 domestically produced Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mark 1A fighter jets. This order, valued at a staggering Rs 65,000 crore, marks the largest ever for indigenous military equipment by the Indian government.

HAL, a public sector undertaking, has three months to respond to the tender. Once inducted, these advanced fighter jets are slated to replace the aging MiG-series aircraft – MiG-21s, MiG-23s, and MiG-27s – that have either been phased out or are scheduled for imminent retirement, according to news agency ANI. This move aligns with India’s push for self-sufficiency in defense manufacturing.

This substantial order comes on the heels of a previous agreement with HAL in 2021 for the procurement of 73 Tejas Mk1A jets. The Tejas Mark 1A boasts superior capabilities compared to its predecessor, including enhanced avionics, longer range, and better weapon carrying capacity.

This landmark deal signifies a major boost for India’s defense sector and underscores the growing capabilities of domestic manufacturers like HAL. The induction of these advanced fighter jets will significantly bolster India’s air defense capabilities and strategic autonomy.