To be labelled as a global superpower, any country for that matter needs to have established itself in the international defence market while also exporting lethal weapons to countries that are net importers of defence equipment.
India has always been importing advanced weapons technology and from the looks of things, all that might change now.
Malaysia all set to buy indigenous LCA Tejas fighter craft?
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is looking to buy a mix of 36 light fighter variants under its “Capability 55” plan as a perfect replacement for its BAE Systems Hawk 108 and Hawk 208 and had floated a Request of Proposal (RfP) for procurement of light fighter jets for its Air Force, late last year.
Also competing for the bid is the Italian M-346FA Fighter Attack aircraft variant, the Russian Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft, JF-17-jointly offered by China and Pakistan and Turkey’s Hurjet fighters.
Reportedly, Malaysia won’t be buying the JF-17 and neither the offering by Russia and South Korea due to economical reasons. That pits the Indian LCA Tejas and Turkey’s Hurjet fighter against each other, fighting for the top spot.
However, the fact that Turkey still hasn’t flown the Hurjet yet as it is still a project under development while LCA Tejas meets all of the Malaysian Air Force’s requirements and is dispatch-ready, is worth noting. Additionally, it also falls within the budget of the RMAF.
India’s indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas showcased its “superior flying skills” at the Dubai Air Show 2021 in November last year. It has now enthralled spectators with its spectacular aerial prowess at the Singapore Airshow 2022, being conducted from February 15-18.
Per aircraft is pegged at a vanilla price of just Rs 309 crore. However, the export version of the aircraft is going to be different than those being produced for the Indian Air ForceHAL’s CMD R Madhavan said when talking about the price of the LCA, on the sidelines of the Aero-India in Bengaluru
The IAF will be pitching the indigenous Tejas Mark-1 aircraft alongside participants from across the world. The Tejas will be enthralling the audience with its display of low-level aerobatics, displaying its superior handling characteristics and manoeuvrabilityThe Indian Air Force said in a statement
Although Thejas is in its last stage of development, it is already serving with the Indian Air Force.
LCA Tejas-Tech and Specs
The HAL Tejas is an Indian multirole, light fighter, designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with the Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.
The LCA Tejas is a fly-by-wire (FBW) fighter with the ability to refuel in the air. Almost similar to a stealth fighter, it also has a glass cockpit with an advanced digital cockpit, multi-mode radar, integrated digital avionics system and advanced composite material structures and a satellite-assisted inertial navigation system, making it a fourth-generation fighter.
It can transport air-to-ground bombs and attack systems that can be used to strike targets on land or at sea. It’s a supersonic combat jet with a 50,000-foot service ceiling. Its wingspan is 8.20 meters, its length is 13.20 meters, and its height is 4.40 meters.
The aircraft is a potent platform for air combat and offensive air support missions while reconnaissance and anti-ship operations are its secondary roles.
All things considered, it is more than likely the Malaysian Air Force will zero in on the indigenously made LCA Tejas and if the deal comes through, which is well worth around $900 million, could be another step forward for India towards breaking into the global defence market as a supplier.
Earlier, India had entered into an agreement with the Philippines for the sale of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, on December 31 of last year- in a deal finalized between BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd and the Philippine Secretary of Defense -Delfin Lorenzana, priced at USD 374 million.
The flagship “Make in India” programme launched under the Modi government, just gets better and better, as is quite evident.