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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG

Ministry of Defence (MoD) has specifically instructed DRDO and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) that it needs to work on per unit cost and reduce the manhour cost in the production of the Tejas MkII aircraft to promote it in the export market. IAF and MoD already have committed to procure 10 squadrons of the new fighter jet and have asked to come at a viable ballpark figure of the fighter’s cost while taking advantage of manufacturing aircraft in larger numbers.

ADA and HAL are working out details to include more indigenous content in the aircraft from earlier decided 75% to now over 90%, which will include many of the components and systems that earlier were to come from abroad will now be manufactured in the country due to scale of the program due to upfront order commitment from the IAF.

The Cabinet Committee on Security already has cleared funds for the project that will see the injection of 10000 cores in multiple phases and talks are also on with private sector companies to set up a new production line that could be used for the export market. idrw.org has been told that the ballpark figure decided earlier was around 40-50% more than the baseline variant of the Tejas Mk1A but now with more indigenous content planned on the production model, unit cost likely will fall further thus will make it one of the most affordable 4.5gen Medium weight fighter in its segment.

GE’s F-414 engine (98 kN thrust) that will be powering the Tejas MkII aircraft will be the biggest component of foreign origin in the aircraft and to reduce any risk due to the US administration, GE has agreed to transfer ToT of the engine so that most of the wearable components of the engine can be manufactured in India while some of the proprietary hot core section will remain with the GE but further collaboration is possible in near future and might involve manufacturing of the engine from the raw material stage. GE already has shipped a dozen plus engines to India to be used on initial Prototypes for developmental flight trials.

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