Defence ministry approves projects worth Rs 82,000 crF

The defence ministry cleared projects worth Rs 82,000 crore, including the purchase of 83 advanced and more potent versions of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The Defence Acquisition Council headed by Defence Minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar gave its go-head to the IAF’s initial plan to purchase 83 Tejas Mark 1A aircraft at a cost of Rs 50,025 crore, ministry sources said. The Acceptance of Necessity (AON) approval for the Tejas fighter jets would be in addition to the 40 Tejas already ordered by the IAF, of which the first 20 jets would be in the initial operational clearance (IOC) configuration and another 20 aircraft in the final operational clearance (FOC) configuration. The LCA Tejas is yet to receive its FOC certification. In July, the IAF formed its first Tejas LCA squadron to accept the fighter jets manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The first two aircraft in the 45 Squadron are of the IOC configuration, granted in December 2013. In the FOC configuration, the aircraft would incorporate Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles and better stand-off weapons and air-to-air refueling capability. The LCA Mark-1A, on the other hand, would have new generation Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar with simultaneous air-to-air and air-to-ground capability, missile warning system, an integrated advanced electronic warfare suite, and advanced versions of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons and maintainability improvements. The council has also approved the purchase of 15 Light Combat Aircraft being manufactured by HAL for the army and the air force for a tentative cost of about Rs 2,911 crore. Out of these 15 gunships, 10 would be for the IAF and the rest for the army. The council also gave its stamp of approval on an order to acquire 464 Russian origin T90 tanks from the Ordnance Factory Board for Rs 13,448 crore, besides procurement of 598 mini UAVs at a cost of Rs 1,100 crore.


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