“Delivery delays are already a thing of past” : India plans to scale up production of Tejas
Despite stiff competition from the Chinese JF-17, the South Korean FA-50, the Russian MiG-35 and Yak-130 planes, and the South Korean FA-50, the single-engine Tejas fighter is already in the lead to win a Malaysian contract for 18 light twin-seat fighter trainers
Defence ministry officials assert that India can increase production of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft to suit operational needs and export orders and that delivery delays are already a thing of the past.
Despite stiff competition from the Chinese JF-17, the South Korean FA-50, the Russian MiG-35 and Yak-130 planes, and the South Korean FA-50, the single-engine Tejas fighter is already in the lead to win a Malaysian contract for 18 light twin-seat fighter trainers. “Moreover, there are also inquiries about the fighter from Argentina, Egypt and the Philippines, among others,” a senior official told TOI.
The current production rate of Tejas by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) is eight aircraft per year but “additional capacity is now available” to enhance it. “It is not difficult,” the official said.
For the 73 “enhanced” Mark-1A fighters and 10 trainers that will be delivered to the IAF between February 2024 and February 2029, the production pace will be gradually increased to 16 Tejas per year. In February 2021, a contract for these 83 Tejas worth Rs 46,898 crore was signed with HAL.
“The production rate can even be increased to 24 aircraft per year if they are export orders or the IAF needs more. If there are confirmed orders, investments can be made to install additional jigs and fixtures,” another official said.
The Cabinet Committee on Security had last month also approved the over Rs 9,000 crore development of a much more capable and powerful Mark-2 version of the Tejas, which will be followed by another mega project for an ambitious fifth-generation stealth fighter, as was then reported by TOI.