The Indian Air Force (IAF) has put Request For Proposal (RFP) to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to buy 83 Tejas, said an official on Wednesday. These 83 Tejas, includes 73 Mark-1A upgraded versions, and 10 trainer versions of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). However, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will respond to the RFP in three months. In November 2016 the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared the cost of Acceptance of Necessity (AON) for 83 Mark-1A LCAs at a Rs 50,025 crore for the IAF.
Moreover, the Mark-1A new version of Tejas will come with additional improvements over the earlier model. According to the officials, it is set to have mid-air refueling, updated internal Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and an AESA radar. The IAF and HAL have been signed two contracts for the LCA which include, procurement of 20 Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) standard aircraft (having 16 fighters and four trainers) and one for the 20 Final Operational Clearance (FOC) standard aircraft.
From the total 20 IOC aircraft, five fighters have been already delivered by to the IAF till date and the production of remaining 15 IOC aircraft is still underway at the HAL.
Chairman and Managing Director of HAL, T. Suvarna Raju said that about 42 modifications in Tejas sought by the Indian Air Force, which also includes weapons systems of the aircraft and it had been carried out. “There is no doubt about that the Tejas is a four-and-half generation world class fighter jet. But we can improve its various parameters and we are proud of Tejas. Also, the Every Citizen of India will be proud of it. We will ensure for the enhancement in its quality and performance,” Raju also said.
Managing Director of HAL also said during his interview that the lifespan of these fighter jet would be a minimum of 30 years just like any other frontline combat aircraft.