New Delhi: A day after the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited received order for 83 Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’ for the Indian Air Force, the firm also gets requests from several countries to export its indigenous LCA ‘Tejas’ Mk 1A fighter, which will reportedly be different from what IAF will get.
On day two of the 13th edition of Aero-India 2021, R Madhavan, chairman of HAL in an interaction with the media persons, said, “Countries from the Middle East and Southeast Asia have expressed their interest in the indigenous LCA ‘Tejas’ Mk 1A fighter at a vanilla price of just Rs 309 crore per aircraft.”
On the sideline, the HAL CMD also said, “as countries from Southeast Asia and West Asia East have evinced interest, the export version will be a bit different from what IAF is going to get.”
Madhavan further added, “The is cost of Rs 309 crore is the cheapest and the aircraft will be exported at this price, though the cost will be a bit extra because bases and the services we will be providing overseas.”
Know what is inside the LCA Mark 1A
This combat aircraft comes with the same airframe and engine as the Mark 1, where the Mark IA is equipped with AESA radar which is from Israel, Electronic Warfare suite, and with a much better pilot machine interface. The weapons on board are a mixture of indigenous as well as imported.
For example, the radar which has been bought from Israel is also behind some parts for the EW suite and has been integrated to perform optimally and indigenously. Also, most upgrades for Mk 1A have been developed indigenously which also includes the FBW — this gives the pilot the capability of handling through the Advanced Auto Low-Speed Recovery (ALSR). It also has capability to fire Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, bombs and precision-guided munitions.
It will also have a state of the art ‘fly by wire’ system, which would be the envy of the aviation world.
83 fighters for IAF
Talking about the entire package for 83 fighters for IAF, Madhvan said, “The contract is for around Rs 48,000 crore. However, it will come down to just around Rs 36,000 if the tax component and escalation in foreign exchange is taken away.”
“The way the calculation is being done is wrong. Take out the taxes and duty, and increase in foreign exchange brings the total cost to just Rs 25,150 crore,” he explained.
Breaking the entire package down further the CMD stated, “If you calculate the taxes and customs duty it works out to around Rs 9,200 crore, and then you add another Rs 11,000 crore which is for the ground equipment which will take the chunk, spares, training aides and manuals, and other expenses.”
How much will one LCA ‘Tejas’ cost?
According to HAL CMD cost per aircraft is Rs 309 crore, whereas the cost of the trainer is around Rs 280 crore. The countries which have showed interest have found this cost to be the cheapest for the four and a half generation aircraft.” The countries which who have evinced interests in these fighters include Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, the HAL is also planning to set logistics facilities to attract buyers from the region.
To note, the government has set a defence export target of $5 billion in the next five year and Defence PSUs including the HAL are working to meet this target.