The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting chaired Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday gave a nod to the procurement of 83 indigenous Tejas fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF). While the orders of 40 Tejas aircraft had been placed with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the 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 aircraft is indigenously designed, developed and manufactured with the participation of Indian vendors.
The Defence Acquisition Council also accorded approval for the acquisition of indigenous Defence equipment for about Rs 1,300 crore. The proposals were for procurement of Aerial Fuses and Twin-Dome Simulators for Hawk Mk32 aircraft for the Indian Air Force.
READ | FOC-Standard LCA Tejas Takes To Skies On Maiden Flight
The DAC approved an amendment to the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 to enable review by a costing committee of bids submitted by Joint Ventures of Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs)/Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)/DRDO from whom procurement of Defence items is undertaken on a nomination basis. This will bring about more transparency in costs and compress the timelines for negotiation of the contract.
Tejas, the first Light Combat Aircraft in Final Operational Clearance-standard (SP-21) took to the skies for its maiden flight on Tuesday, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited informed. Piloted by Air Cmde. KA Muthana (Retd), Chief Test Flying (Fixed Wing), the aircraft took-off from HAL Airport at around 1230 hours, the Bengaluru-headquartered defence PSU said in a statement.
It was airborne for 40 minutes. This flight signifies exemplary teamwork between various stakeholders of the LCA Tejas programme such as HAL, Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification, Indian Air Force and Aeronautical Development Agency, HAL CMD, R Madhavan said.
"This would pave the way for the production of remaining 15 fighters from FOC (Final Operational Clearance) block, which are planned to be delivered during the next financial year", it said. The FOC aircraft are equipped with advanced features such as Air-to-Air refuelling and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile system.