New Delhi: The Defense Ministry made significant strides on Thursday, giving the green light to procure 97 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark 1A fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF), amounting to an approximate cost of Rs 65,000 crore. Additionally, the Defense Acquisition Council also sanctioned the acquisition of 156 LCH Prachand helicopters in its latest series of approvals.
The clearance also encompassed the enhancement scheme for 84 Su-30MKI fighters, marking a substantial financial commitment of about Rs 1.6 lakh crore towards indigenous defense projects, as stated by defense officials.
The initial iteration of the Tejas LCA aircraft became part of the IAF fleet in 2016. Presently, two squadrons of the IAF operate LCA Tejas, with plans for Tejas to become the largest fleet of fighter aircraft in the Indian Air Force's inventory in the forthcoming years.
Highlighting the progress in this direction, a recent Ministry of Defence statement disclosed an order valued at Rs 36,468 crore for the delivery of 83 LCA Mk 1A aircraft, with deliveries slated to commence by February 2024 through Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Notably, last week, Prime Minister Modi undertook a sortie in Tejas from the Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment in Bengaluru. This 30-minute flight showcased the capabilities of the Tejas fighter aircraft to the Prime Minister firsthand.