IAF initiates step to buy 83 Tejas aircraft

A file photo of a Tejas combat aircraft.  

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday issued the Request for Information (RFI) for 83 Tejas light combat aircraft with specific enhancements.

“The RFI was issued for 83 aircraft, which includes 73 in Mk-1A configuration and 10 trainers in Final Operational Configuration (FOC). With this, the IAF will eventually have 123 Tejas aircraft,” an official said.

The deadline for Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), which is manufacturing the aircraft, to respond is March 14, the official added.

The Mk-1A, which has 43 improvements over the basic variant and the production of the 1A, is expected in 2019.

HAL is also in the process of setting up another assembly line at a cost of Rs. 130 crore to increase the production rate from eight to 16.

The second line would be ready by 2019 when Mk-1A begins production, another official said.

The IAF has so far placed orders for 40 jets in two batches of which the first 20 are in the Initial Operational Configuration (IOC) while the remaining 20 are in the Final Operational Configuration (FOC).