HAL gets Rs 65,000 crore MoD tender for 97 more Tejas Mark 1A light fighters - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla

The total number of Tejas fighters on order are set to exceed 200


By Vikas Gupta

Defence News of India, 13th April 24


In what could be the government’s largest ever purchase of indigenously-built military equipment, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) a request for proposals (RfP) for 97 Tejas Mark 1A fighter aircraft worth an estimated Rs 65,000 crore.


A HAL spokesperson has confirmed that the defence public sector undertaking (DPSU) has been given three months to respond to the MoD’s RfP with a detailed proposal.


HAL is close to completing an earlier MoD order for 40 Tejas Mark 1 fighters (two squadrons). Following that, the MoD placed an order in Feb 2021 for 83 Tejas Mark 1A fighters (four squadrons) worth ~Rs 45,700 crore.


The six Tejas squadrons already ordered will now be supplemented by five squadrons (97 Tejas Mark 1A), taking the number of indigenous Tejas fighters to 11 squadrons.


The new 97 Tejas Mark 1A jets will have more than 65 per cent indigenous content. Contracted deliveries of the aircraft were to commence in February 2024.


Designed by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and built mainly by HAL, the multi-role Tejas fighter can perform the roles of air defence, maritime reconnaissance and strike, switching roles with the press of a button.


This multi-role capability is further enhanced by the Tejas’ multi-mode airborne radar, helmet-mounted display system, a self-protection suite and a laser designation pod.


The Tejas is built to be an inherently unstable fighter. It has a sophisticated quadruplex flight control system that allows its pilots carefree handling and enhanced manoeuvrability.


The issue of the Tejas RfP improves visibility on HAL’s order inflow and long-term execution.


While the Tejas is being built in numbers to replace the IAF’s cheap, lightweight MiG-21 and MiG-27 fighters, China and Pakistan are developing the JF-17 Thunder as a cheap, lightweight fighter for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). 


More than 100 JF-17 Thunder jets have been inducted into service with the PAF since 2007.