India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) aims to double production of the indigenously developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) from 8 to 16 platforms per year from 2019-20, company officials have said.
HAL intends to accomplish this by investing an additional INR12.31 billion (USD191.78 million) in expanding the existing LCA assembly line in Bangalore and establishing a second one by using its BAE Systems Hawk 132 jet trainer licence-building facility. Until then HAL, which has so far delivered just 3 of 20 single-engine LCA Mk1s ordered by the IAF in 2005, will build 8 fighters in 2017-18 and 10 the following year, said company chairman T Suvarna Raju.
Thereafter, from 2019-20 onwards, HAL would annually build 16 upgraded Tejas Mk1A variants to meet the IAF’s order for 83 LCAs, approved by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a November 2016 contract worth INR500.25 billion.
“We have created Tier-I suppliers to build parts of Tejas. HAL would be concentrating on integration work, with private aerospace companies supplying major assemblies for Tejas,” Raju told Jane’s on 21 August.
Earlier, Raju had told the Business Standard newspaper that previously it took HAL 19 months to build one LCA, but that from September onwards the platform construction time would be reduced by more than half, to nine months per aircraft.