New Delhi, Nov 30, 2023: India is all set to get more fighter jets as the Union Defence Ministry on Thursday cleared the acquisition of 97 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (Mark 1A) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Besides, it has also cleared the procurement of 156 Prachand Combat helicopters. Of these, 90 are Army helicopters and 66 are IAF helicopters. Both the Tejas aircraft and the Prachand helicopters are homegrown and are worth Rs 1.1 lakh crore.
Reacting to the development, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari called it a "landmark event".
"We already had 40 LCAs of the original IOC and FOC version. So with this, in the long run, the strength of the Indian Air Force will grow to 220 LCA mark 1As, which will equip almost ten squadrons of the Air Force," he said.
He also called the 97 Light Combat Aircraft as "an ideal fit" to replace the depleting strength of the jets, given the winding down of the MiG 21 and the MiG 27 and 23 fleets in the past.
"It’s a very capable and potent aircraft and it gives our trust in the Indian defence industry capabilities. It shows that we firmly are committed towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat and ensuring that a large number of our items on our inventory are made in India," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
Tejas Mark-1A is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured fighter aircraft with more than 65 per cent indigenous components.
The Defence Acquisition Council headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also cleared the Indian Air Force’s Su-30 fighter aircraft upgrade programme.
It is learnt that mega procurement projects and the Su-30 upgrade programme are expected to cost the exchequer Rs 1.3 lakh crore.
In February 2021, the defence ministry sealed a Rs 48,000 crore deal with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for procurement of 83 Tejas MK-1A jets for the IAF.
Courtesy: India Today