NATIONAL

Nod for 83 LCA Tejas Mk-1A

These are in addition to the 40 jets already ordered by IAF

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday accorded approval for the procurement of 83 indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-1A from the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) by “finalising the contractual and other issues”. The deal is expected to cost around Rs. 39,000 crore, official sources said.

“The proposal will now be placed for consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Security [CCS],” the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement.

The DAC had given initial clearance for the 83 aircraft in November 2016 and the IAF issued the Request For Proposal in December, 2017. However, negotiations got stuck due to the steep price quoted by HAL, which the IAF said was more than the price of a Su-30MKI.

The 83 jets are in addition to the 40 LCA already ordered by the IAF in two batches of 20 each in the Initial Operational Clearance and the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configurations.

The MoD statement said that following the separation of duties between the Department of Defence and the Department of Military Affairs headed by the Chief of Defence Staff, the first meeting of the DAC was held with the “Acquisition Wing being the Secretariat of the DAC”. “This would lead to better coordination and faster processing of cases with the Acquisition wing being in the overall charge of the capital acquisition process,” it said.

The DAC also accorded approval for acquisition of indigenous equipment for about Rs. 1,300 crore. In an effort to bring in transparency in costs and compress the timelines for the negotiation of the contracts, the DAC also approved an amendment to the Defence Procurement Procedure, 2016 to enable review of bids by a Costing Committee.

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