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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

R Madhavan, chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited at recently concluded Aero India 2021 had said that many countries from Southeast Asia and the Middle East have shown interest in procurement of Tejas fighters from India and the company is in talks with some of the key officials of the countries. Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has plans to unveil TejEx (Tejas Export) an export variant of the locally developed fighter jet by 2023 that will be used for demonstration and the test flight evaluation sorties by the interested countries.

Presently Two LSP and One Trainer will become Testbed to be used for demonstrations and flight evaluation sorties and media reports indicated advance talks with one particular customer from a Southeast Asian country who is interested in procurement of 12-16 jet in a mix of Trainer and single-seater configurations. Informed sources close to idrw.org have said that negotiations and flight demonstrations will take place in the next few months and agreement could be reached in the next 2-3 years for the first export customer of the jet if the prospective customer agrees.

Nashik division Plant of the HAL is currently been prepped to be used as a manufacturing hub for all the export orders that might be concluded for the TejEx (Tejas Export) in near future. Two LCA manufacturing Plants in Bengaluru will be used exclusively for the production of 83 Tejas Mk1A and Mk1 jets that have been ordered by the IAF. Recent orders for 83 jets by IAF have come as a boost for the image of the LCA-Tejas and removed the negative blockage from many prospective customers who were apprehensive about placing orders for the jets. Two Plants in Bengaluru have a capacity of 16 per annum and as per agreements, HAL needs to deliver 16 jets per annum from 2023 onwards or it will face financial penalties. Nashik Plant will have a manufacturing facility to produce up to 5 jets per annum depending on the export orders that the jet gets.

TejEx (Tejas Export) is a low-cost model based on the Full Operational Capability (FOC) of the Mk1, which will be customized to a level as per requirements set by the customer minus some of the equipment to make it cheaper. TejEx will compete with the likes of Korea’s FA-50 Golden Eagle and the Chinese developed Guizhou JL-9 and JF-17 fighter jet at the International market, but TejEx still will be far superior to the other platforms on offer in a similar price range and has capabilities for further improvements rather than limiting it for just for light attack roles. idrw.org has been informed that most of the inquires are for the low-cost TejEx and LCA-Tejas LIFT/Trainer variant that as per the degree of customization requested will have a price range from $30 to 40 million dollars but HAL is also open to supply any customer if he wants Mk1A configuration similar to Tejas Mk1A ordered by IAF also.

A Two-seater Naval variant of the LCA-Navy for carrier-based flight operations has been offered to the United States Navy to replace its aging T-45 Goshawk carrier-based Pilot trainer. LCA-Navy LIFT will be competing with locally manufactured Boeing/Saab T-7 Red Hawk advanced jet trainer that has better chances of been selected due to massive orders for the same jet been placed by the US Air Force recently.

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