Philippines, Egypt, Nigeria and Argentina have shown interest in acquiring the indigenously developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), according to CB Ananthakrishnan, the Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). Speaking to the media during the Avionics Expo 2023 in New Delhi on Thursday, Ananthakrishnan said talks are on with these countries for the potential procurement and added, “Nigeria, Philippines and Egypt are keen to procure Tejas Light Combat Aircraft”.
The Tejas, a single-engine, multi-role fighter aircraft designed for high-threat air environments, is equipped for air defence, maritime reconnaissance, and strike missions. It is poised to become the backbone of the Indian Air Force (IAF), with nearly 40 initial variant Tejas aircraft already inducted. In February 2021, the Ministry of Defence ordered a Rs 48,000 crore deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to procure 83 Tejas MK-1A jets for the IAF. Recently, the Ministry granted initial approval for an additional batch of 97 Tejas jets for the Indian Air Force.
HAL to Spend Rs 2,000 Crore on R&D
Following acquiring these orders, HAL revealed its intentions to allocate Rs 2,000 crore for Research and Development (R&D) this year. D K Sunil, HAL’s Director of Engineering and R&D, shared the information with the media, stating, “We are committing over Rs 2,000 crore this year in R&D” at the sidelines of the two-day Avionics Expo event.
In addition to producing LCA Tejas jets, HCL is involved in manufacturing 156 LCH Prachand helicopters and modernizing 84 Sukhoi Su-30 MKI jets. The official underscored HAL’s robust R&D infrastructure, consisting of nine centres, and emphasised the company’s dedication to developing crucial avionics components.
Domestic Defence Industries Must Bolster Technological Capabilities to Address Future Challenges: CDS
General Anil Chauhan, the Chief of Defence Staff, has urged domestic defence industries to enhance their technological capabilities in addressing both traditional and future challenges. During the inauguration of the Avionics Exposition 2023 organised by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), General Chauhan called upon the industry to comprehend the needs of the services and develop solutions tailored to the country’s terrain, climate, and operational requirements. He emphasised the necessity for Indian solutions, citing the vulnerability of global supply chains revealed by recent events.
CDS emphasised that the government has embraced the ‘Aatmanirbharta’ (self-reliance) approach to address uncertainties, showcasing confidence in the domestic industry. He stated, “Under the ‘Aatmanirbharta’ initiative, several measures are being implemented to enhance our defence industrial capabilities. We are reinforcing our indigenous and innovative defence capabilities.”
General Anil Chauhan underscored the economic potential of self-reliance in defence, particularly in aerospace and avionics. He asserted that the defence industrial sector holds significant potential in contributing to the country’s economic objectives. Referring to the projected growth of the Global Military Avionics Market to US$ 60 billion by 2030, he highlighted the opportunity it presents and urged belief in the mantra of ‘Make for India, Make for World.’
Emphasising the importance of cutting-edge technologies, the Chief of Defence Staff highlighted their essential role in ensuring modern militaries are prepared for present challenges while also gearing up for an “uncertain and ambiguous” future. In the context of a dynamic global security landscape and rapid technological advancements, he noted that the convergence of new technologies is automating and autotomizing the battlespace. The Chief of Defence Staff underscored the transformative impact of technological solutions in areas such as data analytics, and robotics, signaling a new era in avionics.
The Avionics Expo-2023 presents HAL’s capabilities in designing, developing, and producing various avionics systems. The event is poised to serve as a focal point for industry professionals and stakeholders, fostering collaborations and showcasing HAL’s pivotal role in advancing aerospace technology in India.