Chief of Defence Staff (CDS ) General Bipin Rawat said on Thursday that the government's approval of the deal to procure 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter jets is a boost for the Centre's 'Make in India' initiative and that the ultimate objective is to reach a stage where the country can win conflicts with home-made weapon systems, after the government approved the said deal for the Indian Air Force on Wednesday.
The Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the largest indigenous defense procurement deal worth nearly Rs 48,000 crore to buy LCA-Tejas fighter jets. It is expected that the long-touted deal would be a major boost for the IAF and help it to arrest the decline in numbers of its fighter aircraft squadrons.
"Our ultimate objective is to engage in and win future conflicts with home-made solutions. Our focus will remain on indigenization and efforts to progressively support Aatmanirbhar Bharat is our mission. We hope to see our Air Force touch the sky with glory with aircraft that has major components including engines that are Made in India," Gen Bipin Rawat said.
He added, "This deal will be a game-changer for self-reliance in the Indian defense manufacturing," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted to announce the final approval given to the mega-deal.
On 13 January, the Cabinet met under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister in New Delhi and approved the procurement of 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircraft along with Design and Development of Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs.1,202 Crore.
The Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A variant is an indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft. This aircraft is equipped with critical operational capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile, Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite and Air to Air Refuelling (AAR) would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force, IAF. It is the first “Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)” category procurement of combat aircraft with an indigenous content of 50% which will progressively reach 60% by the end of the program. The order is a major achievement in the history of India's defence production and has massive potential and ramifications for the future.