- The use of advanced composites extensively in the airframe results in a high strength-to-weight ratio, long fatigue life, and low radar signatures.
- Tejas is India's flagship indigenous defence equipment success. Tejas has faced design and other difficulties, and was once rejected by the Indian Navy as being too heavy.
India has responded to the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s tender to sell 18 light-combat aircraft (LCA) “Tejas” to Malaysia. According to the Defense Ministry, Argentina, Australia, Egypt, the United States, Indonesia, and the Philippines are also interested in the single-engine jet.
Last year, the Indian government awarded a $6 billion contract to state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for 83 locally produced Tejas jets, with deliveries beginning in 2023 – four decades after the programme was first approved in 1983.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been attempting to reduce India’s reliance on foreign defence equipment while also making diplomatic efforts to export the equipment abroad.
According to the defence ministry, Hindustan Aeronautics responded to the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s request for proposal for 18 jets in October last year, offering to sell the Tejas two-seater variant.
In a written response to MP Debasree Chaudhuri’s unstarred question in parliament, India’s junior defence minister, Ajay Bhatt, said, “Other countries that have expressed interest in the LCA aircraft are Argentina, Australia, Egypt, the United States, Indonesia, and the Philippines.”
In response to a question about the amount of money saved by exporting defence equipment, Bhatt stated, “With the government’s focus on indigenisation and procurement of defence products from domestic resources, expenditure on defence procurement from foreign sources has decreased from 46 percent to 36 percent in the last four (four) years, i.e. from 2018-19 to 2021-22.”
“Moreover, over the last four years, from 2018-19 to 2021-22, the government has granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) to 162 proposals worth approximately Rs. 2,51,130 crore under various categories of domestic capital procurement,” he said.
He also stated that the country was working on developing a stealth fighter jet, but declined to provide a timeline due to national security concerns.
Britain said in April that it would back India’s goal of developing its own fighter jets. India currently has a mix of fighter jets from Russia, the United Kingdom, and France.
Following a number of fatal crashes, India plans to ground all of its Soviet-era Russian fighter jets, the MiG-21, by 2025
India’s LCA success story: Tejas
Tejas is India’s flagship indigenous defence equipment success. Tejas has faced design and other difficulties, and was once rejected by the Indian Navy as being too heavy.
Tejas is a multi-role supersonic fighter with a single engine that is light and agile. It is equipped with a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System (FCS) and advanced flight control laws.
The delta-winged aircraft is intended for ‘air combat’ and ‘offensive air support,’ with’reconnaissance’ and ‘anti-ship’ as secondary roles. The use of advanced composites extensively in the airframe results in a high strength-to-weight ratio, long fatigue life, and low radar signatures.