Source : Indian Defence Analysis
HAL has two major orders from Indian Air Force to fulfil. The first one is for 40 Tejas MK1 which includes 32 single seat variant and 8 trainer aircraft. The second order is for 83 Tejas Mark1A which includes 73 single seater variant and 10 trainer aircrafts.
From the 1st order of Tejas MK1, 30 Tejas single seater have been produced by HAL and handed over to Indian Air Force, which includes 16 IOC and 14 FOC variant. The remaining 2 LCA Tejas are at advance stages of production and will be handed over by March 2023.
6 more LCA Tejas in FY22
The eight trainers from initial order will be split into two parts and HAL will deliver 4 trainer this year and remaining 4 next year. By March 2023, Indian Air Force will get 6 new fighter jets which will include 2 single seater LCA Tejas and 4 trainer jet. All the trainer versions are going to be the same and will be of FOC standard.
4 trainer & LCA Tejas Mark1A in FY23
The remaining 4 trainers will be delivered by the financial year 2023. With this the initial order of 40 LCA Tejas will be complete. In an interview to The Tribune, CB Ananthakrishnan, the Chairman and Managing Director of HAL has told that HAL will start delivering Tejas Mark 1A, from February 2024. All the material and component needed is ready including engines and the certifications are going on simultaneously. HAL is looking commence the deliver the first plane on schedule in February 2024 and even trying to advance the delivery of the first plane by a month or so.
Secret flight of LCA Tejas Mark 1A
HAL has upgraded the LCA Tejas Mark1 with serial production number SP-25 to Mk1A level. The aircraft secretly took its first flight on 20th May 2022. The SP-25 will act as a test platform for the entire production line of the Mk1A version and will undergo certification tests over coming months. HAL is expected to complete the development trials of the Tejas MK1A by the end of year 2023. As per contract, HAL is required to deliver the first three aircraft in 2024 and 16 aircraft annually for the next five years.
HAL’s production capability
The initial production capability of HAL is 8 aircrafts per year but now the additional capacity is available. HAL has planned to progressively scale up the production rate to 16 Tejas per for the delivery of Tejas MK1A orders.
The production rate can be further be increased to 24 aircrafts per year, if HAL bags additional export order to meet domestic as well as export requirements. The firm can make the investment on setting up additional jigs & fixtures upon receiving the confirm order.
Increasing Indigenous content
The indigenous content in the aircraft is measured by either Value or LRUs (line replaceable unit) and LLRU( Lower Line replaceable units). LCA Tejas is 59.7% indigenous by Value & 75.5% by LRU and LLRUs. Most of the cost goes into engine and AESA radar which is imported. LCA Tejas has 344 LRUs/LLRUs in total out of which 210 LRUs/LLRUs are manufactured indigenously. The Tejas Mark1A version will feature more indigenous components such as LRUs and radars which will increase its indigenous content. It will have close to 65% indigenous content by value. At the same time Tejas Mark-II is expected to reach 80% indigenous content by value when it enters into production.