‘Big achievement’, says DRDO chief after Centre approves LCA Tejas deal.

Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) chief Dr G Satheesh Reddy said on Wednesday that the 48,000 crore defence deal, cleared by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, would pave way for developing various advanced aircraft systems in India. Clearing the biggest indigenous defence procurement deal, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the purchase of 83 LCA (light combat aircraft) Tejas Mk-1A jets which will take the tally of Tejas variants ordered to 123.

Further terming the procurement deal as a ‘great day for the Indian aeronautical scientific community and industry’, Reddy told news agency ANI, “Getting approval for the order of the largest quantity of aircraft ever is a big achievement and is the culmination of hard work of three decades.” The DRDO chief also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving a go ahead for this project.

The deal will be signed in the coming days with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). It will be a major boost for the Indian Air Force (IAF) as it would strengthen IAF’s fleet of homegrown fighter jet ‘LCA-Tejas’ and the overall combat capability.

The LCA Tejas Mk-1A is a domestically designed, developed and manufactured state of the art modern 4+ generation fighter jet. It will serve as a potent platform to meet the IAF’s operational requirements, the Union defence ministry said. The fighter jet is equipped with critical operational capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile, Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite and Air to Air Refuelling (AAR), it added.

The fighter jet is also the “Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)” procurement of combat aircraft with an indigenous content of 50 per cent which will progressively reach 60 per cent by the end of the programme, according to ANI.

Earlier, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh had said that the deal would be a game changer for Atmanirbhar (self-reliance) in the country’s defence manufacturing adding that it would considerably expand the current LCA ecosystem and help in creating new employment opportunities.

“The decision taken today will considerably expand the current LCA ecosystem and help in creating new job opportunities. HAL follows a system integrator model in LCA Mk1A program and acts as an umbrella organization, fostering manufacturing & design capabilities in pvt. industry,” Singh had tweeted.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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