Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent flight on the Tejas marked a significant milestone, amplifying the potential purchase of 97 indigenous fighter jets by the Air Force. With an enthusiastic tweet lauding the capabilities and indigenous strengths of Tejas, PM Modi’s approval adds weight to the Air Force’s contemplation.
Stepping into the Future: Tejas LCA Mk1A Jet Acquisition
The Air Force has proposed the acquisition of Tejas LCA Mk1A jets, estimating a purchase cost of $7 billion, approximately 67,000 crores in Indian rupees. While awaiting clearance from the Defense Ministry, the Defence Acquisition Council, headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, will finalize the decision in their meeting scheduled on November 30th.
Tejas Integration in 2024: Strengthening India’s Air Power
Scheduled for induction in 2024, the addition of 83 Tejas jets, ordered in February 2021, aligns with India’s vision to replace the aging Soviet-era MiG-21s. This procurement, amounting to 46,898 crores, paves the way for further deliberations on the potential addition of 97 Tejas jets, enhancing India’s aerial defense capabilities significantly.
Global Interest in Tejas: Nations Eyeing the Lightweight Combat Aircraft
Several countries, including Argentina, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Egypt, have expressed interest in procuring Tejas jets. Despite keen interest, final deals with these nations remain pending. For instance, Argentina has shown inclination towards Tejas but is also considering South America’s F-16s for their air fleet.
Features and Appeal of Tejas: A Lightweight Combat Aircraft
One of the distinguishing features of Tejas is its lightweight design, crafted from aluminum, lithium alloys, carbon fiber composites, and titanium alloy steel, weighing only 6,560 kilograms. Its agility at 1.6 Mach speed, coupled with effective radar systems, makes it proficient in both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat scenarios. Additionally, with 50% of its components manufactured in India, Tejas exemplifies self-reliance in the defense sector.
Acknowledgement from PM Modi and Tejas’ Legacy
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flight on Tejas resonated as a symbolic acknowledgment of the efforts invested in achieving self-reliance in the defense sector. The journey of Tejas dates back to 1983, envisioned to offer an alternative to the Russian MiG-21 and introduce a lightweight combat aircraft, eventually taking its maiden flight in January 2001 during Atal Bihari Vajpayee‘s tenure.