Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today inaugurated Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL’s), second dedicated Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) plant in Bengaluru. Lauding the defence public sector unit’s efforts in ramping up production of the indigenous Tejas fighter, Rajnath Singh said the new plant, spread over 35 acres, was a prime example of how “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” was shaping up.
“The new LCA facility is an example of how ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ is shaping up and HAL deserves the largest indigenous order of 83 LCA Mk-IA. The LCA is the pride of India and sends the right message to others that India can make fighters of class in-house,” he said. “India cannot remain dependent on other countries for its defence,” he said after the inauguration.
The Defence Minister also said that it was apt that the largest indigenous order ever signed by the Government of India was for the 83 Tejas Mark-1A aircraft that HAL will be rolling out. The order is for 73 single seat fighters and 10 trainers and is worth Rs. 48,000 crore.
Buoyed by the Tejas order, HAL is confident of bagging orders for 15 limited series production Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) and to supply the IAF with the basic trainer (HTT-40) that they, the IAF, are keen on acquiring.
According to R. Madhavan, HAL’s Chairman and Managing Director, the new Tejas facility will allow the PSU to ramp up production of the Tejas aircraft from the present eight to 16 a year.
“State-of-the art machines such as CNC profilers, five axis machining centers, and so on for producing technologically challenging, high-pressure fluid-cell press machines, test rigs, specialised facilities for heat treatment, special processes and hangars for the structural assembly of aircraft are being created in the new LCA complex. Production tooling and productivity improvement initiatives have also been undertaken by adopting the latest simulation software packages under capacity augmentation,” Madhavan added.
Answering questions on the LCH and the HTT-40, Madhavan said: “The proposal for LCH procurement is expected to go to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) very soon. So far as HTT-40 goes, the RFQ (request for qualification) is being vetted and that should come through too.”