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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the second production line for Tejas Tuesday. His ministry is set to sign a contract worth Rs 48,000 crore with HAL.
Although several major air forces like France, Germany and the US are still inducting or ordering fourth-generation fighters, their capabilities and threats are distinct from India’s.
It was in 1983 when India rolled out the project to build a new light combat aircraft as a replacement for Russian MiG 21s, which continue to fly despite being obsolete.
New aircraft comes with 4 major capability enhancements — mid-air refuelling, Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar, Electronic Warfare suite & Beyond Visual Range missile.
CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat had said IAF was planning to buy the indigenous LCA Tejas instead of 114 ‘Make in India’ foreign jets.
The company is betting on the IAF to place a multi-billion dollar order for an advanced version of the indigenously produced LCA Tejas before the financial year ends.
The only reason Indian pilots still use the "flying coffin" MiG 21 is because of the delay in acquiring Tejas, about two decades on.
The fourth generation MWF will probably be ready by end of next decade. China already has two fifth-generation fighter jets, and it can sell to Pakistan.