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India to export Light Combat Aircraft 'TEJAS', Mk1A and trainer variant. Check details

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

India is very keen to reduce it's dependence on foreign defence equipment's as India relies heavily on other countries for it's defence needs.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, the country has witnessed an upsurge of activity within the domestic defence manufacturing industry. Under the ‘Make in India’ flagship programme, the Modi government has systemically strengthened India’s defence industry, and now, the results are visible. Whether it be Brahmos or the LCA Tejas fighter jet – India is about to export them to various countries and build on its ‘superpower’ status.

Britain said in April it would support India’s goal of building its own fighter jets. India currently has a mix of Russian, British and French fighter jets.


India is looking to ground all its Soviet-era Russian fighter jets, the MiG-21, by 2025, following a number of fatal crashes, the Times of India daily reported last month.

What is LCA Tejas?

The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is an Indian single-engine, fourth-generation, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. In 2003, the LCA was officially named "Tejas".


Picture by - Indian Air Force

Tejas - Features and material used.

The aircraft with delta wing is designed for ‘air combat’ and ‘offensive air support’ with ‘reconnaissance’ and ‘anti-ship’ as its secondary roles. Extensive use of advanced composites in the airframe gives a high strength to weight ratio, long fatigue life and low radar signatures.

  • The aluminium-lithium alloys.

  • Carbon-fibre composites, and titanium alloys.

  • Upper and lower wing skins are manufactured from a single piece of carbon-fibre reinforced polymer.

  • Wing spars and ribs are also made out of carbon composites.

  • The percentage of carbon composites in the airframe by weight rose from 30% in the technology demonstrators to 42% in the prototype vehicles.

  • The construction of elevons, tailfin, rudder, air brakes and landing gear doors use co-cured and co-bonded manufacturing techniques.

To know about it in full detail check this link here.



Which Countries has shown the interest?

  • Argentina

  • Malaysia

  • Egypt

  • Australia

  • United States

  • Indonesia

  • Philippines

In a statement, the Indian Air Force said, “The IAF will be pitching the indigenous Tejas Mark-1 aircraft alongside participants from across the world. The Tejas will be enthralling the audience with its display of low-level aerobatics, displaying its superior handling characteristics and maneuverability.”


Argentina

State owned Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) during its recent visit to Argentina has offered indigenous Light Combat Aircraft `Tejas’ Mark IA and 2 seater trainers.


Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online: “Argentina will be looking to export from India two variants of the LCA Tejas. First would be its two-seater operational conversion trainer aircraft, akin to what might be with the Indian Air Force (IAF). The second would be the export variant, the LCA Tejas Mark 1A.”

Argentina has been looking globally for fighter jets to replace its old Air Force Fleet for a while. The other jets considered are, Chinese JF-17, the Indian Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, the South Korean FA-50 and the Lockheed Martin’s F-16s.


There have been several rounds of visits and meetings in recent months. Recently, along with the Indian Ambassador to Argentina Dinesh Bhatia, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) executives met with the Argentine Chief of Staff, Argentinian Air Force and other key stakeholders.

Financial Express Online has reported earlier that external affairs minister Dr. S Jaishankar was in Argentina as part of his three nation visit to the region. Light Combat Aircraft was discussed during his meetings with his counterpart and other senior officials.
A senior diplomat of Argentina said that, The most challenging task had been replacing all UK-origin components in the LCA Tejas. “It is primarily due to the long-standing dispute of the Falkland Islands between the two,”.

“A similar exercise was conducted by the Chinese, who flew their JF-17 aircraft to Argentina, where the Argentinean Air Force spent a month with the same. In 2021, there were reports of Argentina down selecting the Chinese offering. However, later on, any such development was denied by the officials. Apparently, the Argentine response was also positive for the JF-17, but the US was able to talk them out of considering the Chinese aircraft,” said an official who wished to remain anonymous.


India’s self-reliance journey with HAL is a boon for Argentina, as it can reclaim military might with India and HAL as a partner


Malaysia

Malaysia deal will close soon. Defence ministry told parliament that Hindustan Aeronautics in October last year responded to a request for proposal from the Royal Malaysian Air Force for 18 jets, offering to sell the two-seater variant of Tejas.



United States of America

India has also pitched selling LCA Tejas to USA, yes it's a role reversal this time, every time in the past we have only looked to buy defence equipment's from USA.

As per the report, it is the first time India has made a defence sales pitch to the US. The US Navy requires these jets for its Undergraduate Jet Training System (UJTS).

India in response to the RFI has sent a detailed project plan to the US which is currently evaluating the same. If shortlisted, India has also offered to build a demonstrator version of the jet.


The Indian diplomats and officials has also hinted about briefing to Indonesia and other nations regarding the Tejas but more details are awaited.


What is unique in LCA Tejas?

  • An absence of similar jets in the market. The extensively tested LCA has also demonstrated its capability of operating from an aircraft carrier.

  • LCA Tejas will cost Argentina USD 42 million per aircraft. The South Korean FA-50 would be several million less. However, FA-50, which the Argentine Air Force has already, comes without missiles, adding to the costs after the fact.

  • According to Girish Linganna, “Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Fighting Falcon, has a comparable top speed to the LCA Tejas. However, it has a 1000 KM more range and has about 5000 KG more maximum take-off weight. Interestingly, F-16 has a larger footprint and a better engine to achieve this, but the service ceiling of LCA Tejas is more remarkable by over 1000 M. F-16 has nine hard points versus the eight on the LCA Tejas.

Now, India plans to expand it's defence industry by privatizing it and giving space to private players such as TATA and Adani's. This will create space for innovation and make India self reliant and would mint money for us which will also increase the diplomatic leverage over other nations.


stay tuned for more..


 


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