, Krishn Kaushik
| New Delhi |
Published: March 19, 2020 1:44:37 am
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has paved the way for procurement of 83 Tejas Mk-1A Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bengaluru, by finalising contractual and other issues related to the biggest deal for the indigenous combat aviation industry — charting a path for the Indian Air Force (IAF) of the future. The proposal now awaits the Cabinet’s nod.
HAL is expected to deliver the first LCA Mk-1A to the IAF three years after the deal is signed. Production will start by 2023 and a full squadron delivered by 2025 if a contract is signed soon. The delivery of 83 aircraft is expected to be complete by 2029.
The order is crucial for maintaining the strength of fighter squadrons in the IAF which is down to 30 against an authorised 42 squadrons. Even if these Tejas Mk-1A supplies happen on time, IAF will be left with an alarmingly low 26 squadrons by 2021, rising to 30 by 2027. The IAF last had 42 fighter squadrons in…