RFP to HAL for 83 LCA Mk.1As
On 20 December 2017, the Defence Acquistions Council (DAC) issued an RFP to HAL for 83 Tejas LCA Mk.1As, this being confirmed the same evening by a HAL spokesman. Earlier, the same day, the Defence Minister stated in Parliament: “Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC) has cleared acquisition of 83 LCA Mk. 1As for the IAF, production of which is planned from 2019-20. Currently HAL has orders for production of 20 Tejas Mk.1 fighters in the initial operational configuration (IOC); followed by another 20 in the final operational configuration (FOC), when that is obtained.” Acknowledging the manufacturing delay in Parliament, the MoD stated: “Out of total 20 IOC aircraft (16 fighters and 4 trainers), 5 fighters have been delivered by HAL to IAF till date. The production of remaining 15 IOC aircraft (11 fighters + 4 trainers) are taken up at HAL. Further, “Production for 20 FOC aircraft, will be taken up after FOC clearance by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).”
Beyond these will be the Tejas Mk.1A, but which variant is yet to be developed, as this essentially incorporates four upgrades including the integration of an AESA radar, a self-protection jammer (SPJ), fitting of an external refueling probe and improving “maintainability of the fighter.” With various sensors and systems yet to be selected, this could well extend the development period. For the present, the MoD states that “For ramping up production capacity from existing 8 aircraft to 16 aircraft per annum, Government of India has sanctioned Rs 1,381.04 crore in March 2017”.