Air force to make-do with obsolete Tejas

7 Oct 2015 | Written by Vaneet Randhawa; Edited by NewsBytes Desk

The government shot down Indian military's request for 36 fighter planes from Dassault Aviation SA and forced 32-years-old Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) on it.

Air force had also wanted an additional 44 Rafale aircraft.

This decision of the government is in keeping with the 'Make in India' policy aims to encourage the use of Indian industry and lower India's reliance on foreign arms.

In context: Is India at risk with Tejas?

IntroductionWhat is the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas?

Approved by the government in 1983, the Light Combat Aircraft created by the government's Defence Research and Development Organization was intended to be the spine of the air force due for introduction in 1994.

However, there was a huge delay in making it from the scratch with a new engine (which was later scrapped).

So far, only one fully functional LCA has been developed.

Cost of the LCA project

The Tejas LCA has cost DRDO approximately Rs.7000 crore which is a minuscule amount compared to other similar aircraft in the world.
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5 Dec 2014Tejas to replace MIGs

Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar informed that the Defence Research and Development Organization was working on the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas Programme, but it was running behind schedule.

He also informed the Lok Sabha that approximately 20-30 Tejas will be commissioned soon.

Tejas would be replacing the MIG fighters.

Further, he pointed that the government was negotiating 126 Rafale fighter-jets deal.

18 Jan 2015After 32 year wait, Tejas is finally here!

Manohar Parrikar delivered the first of the "indigenously built" Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in Bengaluru to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

After a wait of almost 32 years, the LCA was finally handed over to the Air Force after completing the initial operational clearance-II, which meant that the Tejas was airworthy in various conditions.

20 such LCAs will be built by 2017-18.

9 May 2015CAG slams Tejas, says unfit for Air Force

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) came down strongly on India's Light Combat Aircraft Tejas plan.

CAG criticized the Mark-I version of Tejas by stating that it had almost 53 weaknesses and did "not meet Indian Air Force specifications."

It was also pointed out that a lack of a trainer model would adversely impact pilot training, thereby proving to be a constraint.

7 Oct 2015Anxiety within military circles

The incorporation of India's struggling Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) came at a time at which the Indian air force seemed to be most exposed.

It is at its weakest operational force since the 1962 war against China.

The induction of Tejas was a necessity for Air Force to have the minimum number of aircraft that is a must for IAF.

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7 Oct 2015Air force to make-do with obsolete Tejas

14 Feb 2017Navy rejects Tejas

The Navy has rejected the indigenously developed Tejas aircraft for its aircraft carriers, saying the aircraft was too heavy. They will opt for a foreign fighter instead.

It is unclear who the other contenders for the navy's multi-billion dollar bid. Only 3 Tejas aircraft are in service with the IAF.

Meanwhile, Boeing Co has pitched the F-A/18 Hornet, with an offer to build locally.