IAF will buy 14 Tejas squadrons, lowering costs

Indian fighter well-placed for global market for 3,500 light fighters

India’s own fighter, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), is playing a growing role in protecting Indian airspace. On December 20, when the was cleared for operational service in the Indian Air Force (IAF), Minister declared 200 fighters would eventually enter combat service. Today, that figure quietly swelled to well above 300, with the government indicating the would have at least 14 squadrons.

Each combat squadron has 21 fighter aircraft; 14 squadrons add to 294 fighters. The 21 comprise 16 frontline, single-seat fighters, two twin-seat trainers and three reserve aircraft to make up losses in a war.

In a written statement tabled in the on Monday, Antony’s deputy, Jitendra Singh, stated, “The and aircrafts of the have already been upgraded and currently equip 14 combat squadrons. These aircraft, however, are planned for being phased out over the next few years and will be replaced by the LCA.”

So far, the has committed to inducting only six squadrons — two squadrons of the current Mark I, and four squadrons of the improved Mark II. In addition, the navy plans to buy 40-50 for its future aircraft carriers.

Since the programme began in 1985, about Rs 7,000 crore have been spent on the Mark I, which obtained Initial Operational Clearance in December, allowing regular pilots to fly it. By the end of this year, when it obtains Final Operational Clearance, it would have consumed a Budget of Rs 7,965 crore.

An additional Rs 2,432 crore has been allocated for the Mark II, which takes the total development cost of the variant to Rs 10,397 crore.

Separately, Rs 3,650 crore were sanctioned for developing the naval Tejas, which is ongoing. That means the Aeronautical Development Agency will spend Rs 14,047 crore on the entire programme, including the IAF, naval and trainer variants.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, which manufactures the Tejas, has quoted Rs 162 crore a fighter as its latest price. Amortising the entire development cost on the envisioned 344 fighters (IAF: 294; Navy: 50), the would cost Rs 209 crore ($33.5 million) per fighter.

In comparison, the IAF’s Mirage 2000 fighters, bought in the 1980s, are currently being upgraded for $45 million per aircraft. pilots that test-fly the Mark I find it qualitatively superior to the Mirage 2000.

The heavier costs more than Rs 400 crore ($65 million) each. And the Rafale, which is currently being negotiated with Dassault, is pegged at Rs 750-850 crore ($120-140 million) per fighter.

Aerospace expert and historian, Pushpindar Singh, points out that ordering more would bring down the price further, making it enormously attractive for air forces across the world that are replacing some 3,500 MiG-21, Mirage-III, early model and fighters that are completing their service lives.

“With these air forces facing severe budget pressures, the has only one rival in this market — the JF-17 Thunder, being built by China in partnership with Pakistan. They are marketing the JF-17 aggressively in every global air show, but India is completely ignoring the Tejas’ potential,” said Singh.

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Business Standard
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Business Standard

IAF will buy 14 Tejas squadrons, lowering costs

Indian fighter well-placed for global market for 3,500 light fighters

Ajai Shukla  |  New Delhi 

Tejas Light Combat Aircraft

India’s own fighter, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), is playing a growing role in protecting Indian airspace. On December 20, when the was cleared for operational service in the Indian Air Force (IAF), Minister declared 200 fighters would eventually enter combat service. Today, that figure quietly swelled to well above 300, with the government indicating the would have at least 14 squadrons.

Each combat squadron has 21 fighter aircraft; 14 squadrons add to 294 fighters. The 21 comprise 16 frontline, single-seat fighters, two twin-seat trainers and three reserve aircraft to make up losses in a war.


In a written statement tabled in the on Monday, Antony’s deputy, Jitendra Singh, stated, “The and aircrafts of the have already been upgraded and currently equip 14 combat squadrons. These aircraft, however, are planned for being phased out over the next few years and will be replaced by the LCA.”

So far, the has committed to inducting only six squadrons — two squadrons of the current Mark I, and four squadrons of the improved Mark II. In addition, the navy plans to buy 40-50 for its future aircraft carriers.

Since the programme began in 1985, about Rs 7,000 crore have been spent on the Mark I, which obtained Initial Operational Clearance in December, allowing regular pilots to fly it. By the end of this year, when it obtains Final Operational Clearance, it would have consumed a Budget of Rs 7,965 crore.

An additional Rs 2,432 crore has been allocated for the Mark II, which takes the total development cost of the variant to Rs 10,397 crore.

Separately, Rs 3,650 crore were sanctioned for developing the naval Tejas, which is ongoing. That means the Aeronautical Development Agency will spend Rs 14,047 crore on the entire programme, including the IAF, naval and trainer variants.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, which manufactures the Tejas, has quoted Rs 162 crore a fighter as its latest price. Amortising the entire development cost on the envisioned 344 fighters (IAF: 294; Navy: 50), the would cost Rs 209 crore ($33.5 million) per fighter.

In comparison, the IAF’s Mirage 2000 fighters, bought in the 1980s, are currently being upgraded for $45 million per aircraft. pilots that test-fly the Mark I find it qualitatively superior to the Mirage 2000.

The heavier costs more than Rs 400 crore ($65 million) each. And the Rafale, which is currently being negotiated with Dassault, is pegged at Rs 750-850 crore ($120-140 million) per fighter.

Aerospace expert and historian, Pushpindar Singh, points out that ordering more would bring down the price further, making it enormously attractive for air forces across the world that are replacing some 3,500 MiG-21, Mirage-III, early model and fighters that are completing their service lives.

“With these air forces facing severe budget pressures, the has only one rival in this market — the JF-17 Thunder, being built by China in partnership with Pakistan. They are marketing the JF-17 aggressively in every global air show, but India is completely ignoring the Tejas’ potential,” said Singh.

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IAF will buy 14 Tejas squadrons, lowering costs

Indian fighter well-placed for global market for 3,500 light fighters

Indian fighter well-placed for global market for 3,500 light fighters
India’s own fighter, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), is playing a growing role in protecting Indian airspace. On December 20, when the was cleared for operational service in the Indian Air Force (IAF), Minister declared 200 fighters would eventually enter combat service. Today, that figure quietly swelled to well above 300, with the government indicating the would have at least 14 squadrons.

Each combat squadron has 21 fighter aircraft; 14 squadrons add to 294 fighters. The 21 comprise 16 frontline, single-seat fighters, two twin-seat trainers and three reserve aircraft to make up losses in a war.

In a written statement tabled in the on Monday, Antony’s deputy, Jitendra Singh, stated, “The and aircrafts of the have already been upgraded and currently equip 14 combat squadrons. These aircraft, however, are planned for being phased out over the next few years and will be replaced by the LCA.”

So far, the has committed to inducting only six squadrons — two squadrons of the current Mark I, and four squadrons of the improved Mark II. In addition, the navy plans to buy 40-50 for its future aircraft carriers.

Since the programme began in 1985, about Rs 7,000 crore have been spent on the Mark I, which obtained Initial Operational Clearance in December, allowing regular pilots to fly it. By the end of this year, when it obtains Final Operational Clearance, it would have consumed a Budget of Rs 7,965 crore.

An additional Rs 2,432 crore has been allocated for the Mark II, which takes the total development cost of the variant to Rs 10,397 crore.

Separately, Rs 3,650 crore were sanctioned for developing the naval Tejas, which is ongoing. That means the Aeronautical Development Agency will spend Rs 14,047 crore on the entire programme, including the IAF, naval and trainer variants.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, which manufactures the Tejas, has quoted Rs 162 crore a fighter as its latest price. Amortising the entire development cost on the envisioned 344 fighters (IAF: 294; Navy: 50), the would cost Rs 209 crore ($33.5 million) per fighter.

In comparison, the IAF’s Mirage 2000 fighters, bought in the 1980s, are currently being upgraded for $45 million per aircraft. pilots that test-fly the Mark I find it qualitatively superior to the Mirage 2000.

The heavier costs more than Rs 400 crore ($65 million) each. And the Rafale, which is currently being negotiated with Dassault, is pegged at Rs 750-850 crore ($120-140 million) per fighter.

Aerospace expert and historian, Pushpindar Singh, points out that ordering more would bring down the price further, making it enormously attractive for air forces across the world that are replacing some 3,500 MiG-21, Mirage-III, early model and fighters that are completing their service lives.

“With these air forces facing severe budget pressures, the has only one rival in this market — the JF-17 Thunder, being built by China in partnership with Pakistan. They are marketing the JF-17 aggressively in every global air show, but India is completely ignoring the Tejas’ potential,” said Singh.
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