A Tejas aircraft | Commons
A Tejas aircraft | Commons
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New Delhi: In a major boost to the Indian private defence industry, the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has outsourced significant works on the light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mark 1A to companies like Larsen and Toubro, Dynamatic Technologies and Alpha Designs.

The development indicates that HAL will now be more of a systems integrator, with private companies playing a major role in the manufacturing of fighter aircraft and other aviation assets, including helicopters.

According to the plan, the wings for the next generation of the Tejas aircraft, orders for which are yet to be placed by the Indian Air Force (IAF), will now be manufactured by Larsen and Toubro (L&T).

Building an Indian aerospace ecosystem

The front fuselage of Mark1A has been outsourced to Dynamatic Technologies, the middle section to VEM, and rear section to Alpha Design, sources in HAL said about their preparations for the project.

According to the sources, the government has been keen to engage private players in the project because an aerospace ecosystem needs to be built in India.

“Private industry is a part of the Indian defence industry, which is dominated by defence PSUs (public sector undertakings). Private industry has capacity and the capability,” a source in the Defence Ministry told ThePrint, “What they needed was more orders and this collaborative approach is the way forward.” 

HAL will act as a system integrator and will put together everything manufactured by them and the private players.

The IAF is expected to place an order for 83 Mark 1A aircraft soon.

The 83 Mark 1A aircraft will be in addition to the 40 LCAs already ordered by the IAF in two batches, 20 each in the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration and the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configuration.

Sources said HAL has already outsourced work on some of the last of the 40 aircraft being built by the state-run company.

“Some of the aircraft under production have parts supplied by these companies. The plan is to scale it up when the order for the 83 comes,” a HAL source said.

Orders for Tejas Mark 1A to be placed soon

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had given the initial clearance for the 83 LCA Mk1A aircraft in November 2016 and the IAF had issued the Request For Proposal (RFP) in December 2017.

However, negotiations have been stuck because the IAF felt that HAL had quoted a steep price. Sources said the price quoted by HAL was higher than that of the Su-30 MKI, India’s frontline fighter aircraft.

However, Apurva Chandra, director general (acquisition) in the Defence Ministry, said at a seminar this week that the issues relating to the pricing of the 83 LCA Mk1A had been resolved and finalised.

Sources said a formal order would be placed over the next 2-3 months.

Improvements over Tejas Mark 1

The Tejas Mark 1A fighters will have four major improvements over the current Tejas Mark 1.

The significant one is that the Mark 1A fighters will be equipped with the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar instead of the manually-scanned Israeli Elta EL/M 2032 radar.

The new Tejas will also have a Self-Protection Jammer (SPJ) on a pod under the wing.

Two other upgrades include improving the “maintainability” of the fighter, and equipping it with external refuelling capability to allow it to cover a longer distance.


Also read: Behind final clearance for Tejas, 10 concessions given to fighter jet


 

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8 Comments Share Your Views

8 COMMENTS

  1. Tejas is totally failed project,technically not able to give desire results that why IAF superior and responsible not wasting their budgets on it. JF-17 Thunder has similar features.but become war tested on 28Feb shootdown 3 IAF including SU -30 a brilliant performance by PAF , Now HAL is awarded to outsorce that proves the inablity of our HAl , PAF is very small force aginst IAF 1/5 no comparasion at all, but it morality and fighting skills is very high . Thats counts it amongest world 2 nd fighting machine, that level unfortunatly our IAF dont have.

  2. One crucial information is missing. Engines will be Turbofan,General Electric F404, imported from USA. DRDO is still unable to design homemade engines for our combat fighters. The Kaveri project still lies in the cold freeze..

  3. Some people seem to be fretting over media coverage. However, there is no cause of concern. “WHAT” is being made is never the big issue, unless it is a novel, ground breaking technology (which a 4th gen combat aircraft is not). “HOW” something is made, synthesized, sourced, designed, integrated and tested is the bigger know how.

  4. Well, it is not surprising, Our stupid Indian Media always are over eager to give in depth details of defence stuff, Maybe Chinese and Pakistan have already infiltrated our media quite well. Very clever tactic though, wonder why India doesn’t follow such tactic.
    Raj

  5. DEFINITELY PART OF PRESTITUTE MEDIA IS ACTING LIKE ENEMY’S SPY GANGS TARGETING DETAILS OF THE DEFENSE CONTRACTS, EQUIPMENT OR PREPAREDNESS TO BE DISCLOSED BENEFITING ENEMIES. THERE SHOULD BE SOME RESTRICTIONS CONSIDERED FOR PUBLICATION OF SUCH MINUTE DETAILS.

  6. Is it necessary to give companies details of orders given for fighter planes,what is placed where etc at all?If one has studied spy systems used by Germans in world war IIone must know how much damages were attempted on allied defences.It was only by grit and guts ,allied could defeat Germans.So why send such articles which will be scanned by Chinese and Bastard Pakis?Venky

    • Venkat, i agree with NRI. By the way, both – there is no incriminating detail said here. Merely details about which portions are being outsourced. The conttacts will have the neccessary requirements for secrecy and these are punishable by jail or even death in some cases. I am confident on the pateiotism and process rigor of the named private companies to maintain secrwcy to the employee level – also dont forget that the army and secret police etc will continue to audit and monitor all information and personnel activies who will have access to any sensitive specifications. This will bolster our capacity of defence hardware per rupee spent as otherwise we are doling out millions to foreign companies for simple things like fuselage / structural components etc. Also i want to add that the private sector talent will also bring in innovation and invention to better some capabilities. Salute to Mr.Modi and Jai Hind.

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