India today approved the procurement of 73 indigenously-manufactured Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-1A fighter planes and ten LCA Tejas Mk-1 for training purposes at a cost of Rs 45,696 crores.
The clearance was given at a meeting of the cabinet presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, an official statement said.
Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A variant, manufactured by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is an indigenously-designed, developed and manufactured fighter aircraft equipped with operational capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile, electronic warfare (EW) suite and air-to-air refuelling, it said.
The aircraft would meet the operational requirements of the Indian Air Force and is the first 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 programme.
The cabinet also approved infrastructure development by the IAF under the project to enable them to handle repairs or servicing at their base depot so that the turnaround time would get reduced for mission critical systems and would lead to increased availability of aircraft for operational necessities.
The manufacturing of Light Combat Aircraft will boost indigenisation of defence production and the defence industry in the country as about 500 Indian companies in the design and manufacturing sectors will be working with HAL in their procurement, according to the statement.