Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 13
In the biggest make-in-India project in the defence sector, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday gave a go-ahead to the procurement of 83 Tejas fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.
The jets will be an upgraded version of the existing Tejas platform. Public sector giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will produce the jets. The first lot would be available by 2023 and last by 2027.
The jets will be of two variants — 73 Tejas Mk-1A and 10 Tejas Mk-1 (trainer aircraft). The project will cost Rs 45,696 crore and include a sanction of Rs 1,202 crore for design and development of infrastructure at bases where Tejas fleets will be based. The Tribune had, on January 10, reported that the CCS would soon take a call on the deal.
This is the biggest fighter jet deal since the government in mid-1990s okayed the purchase of 272 Sukhoi-30MKI jets from Russia.
The IAF is presently having just 30 fighter squadrons (16-18 planes each) against the requirement of 42 squadrons in case of simultaneous two-front war with Pakistan and China colluding.
The Ministry of Defence said: “About 500 Indian companies, including MSMEs, in the design and manufacturing sectors will be working with HAL in this project.”