In its first meeting post “separation of duties between Department of Defence (DoD) and Department of Military Affairs (DMA)”, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), on Wednesday, approved the purchase of LCA-Mk 1A for Indian Air Force (IAF), said an official statement.
“While orders of 40 Tejas aircraft had been placed with HAL in initial configurations, DAC paved the way for procurement of 83 of the more advanced Mk1A version of the aircraft from HAL by finalising the contractual and other issues,” the statement said.
“The proposal will now be placed for consideration of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS),” it added.
The CCS is India's final defence authority on defence matters.
The much awaited approval is expected to give major boost to Indian aircraft industry. The single engine light fighter is designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
In December 2017, IAF sent a single vendor tender to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the purchase of 83 Mk1A version. After much negotiation the deal is expected to cost around INR 39,000 crore (over $5.5 billion).
IAF is already inducting 40 LCA Mk1 (basic version) to populate two squadrons which received its Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) during the Aero India 2019.
The approval came a day after the maiden flight of the Finial Operational Clearance (FOC) standard Tejas at the HAL’s Bengaluru facility. The aircraft (serial production number 21) was airborne for 40 minutes.
“HAL achieved the momentous feat within a record time of 12 months after release of Drawing Applicability List (DAL) and SOP by CEMILAC. This would pave way for production of remaining 15 fighters from the FOC block which are planned to be delivered during the next financial year,” HAL said in a statement.