HAL will provide the IAF with 83 Texas fighters in an agreement of Rs 39k cr

NEW DELHI: The most important agreement in the indigenous military aviation sector has been finalized, with the total cost of the IAF for the acquisition of 83 single-engine Texas fighters and its defense support package (HAL) reduced from the first 56,500 million from rupees to 39,000 rupees. crore

The reduction of more than Rs 17,000 crore in the total cost came after hard negotiations for a year. The Ministry of Defense and the IAF were initially surprised by the exorbitant price that HAL demanded to produce the 83 Mark-1A Texas aircraft along with the maintenance and infrastructure package.

“With the price of the contract now established at Rs 39,000 crore, the acquisition file is sent to the Security Cabinet Committee for final approval. It should be approved before the end of this fiscal year on March 31. Once the contract is signed, HAL promises to begin deliveries of the Mark-1A aircraft in three years, ”said a source.

It was in November 2016 that the Defense Procurement Council approved for the first time the acquisition of 83 Texas aircraft at a cost of 49,797 crore. But HAL had responded with a price of around Rs 56.5 billion, which led to prolonged cost negotiations. “HAL, for example, was even charging profits for imported components. Article by article, the cost was reduced. The IAF also reduced some of its support requirements, ”the source said.

Up to 30 combat squads (each has 18 planes) when at least 42 are required for the necessary deterrence against Pakistan and China, the IAF relies on the Texas long-haul light fighter plane to compensate for the free fall in numbers.

The first four Rafale fighters will land at Ambala air base in May, and the remaining 32 will continue in batches in April 2022 under the Rs 59,000 million rupee agreement signed with France in September 2016. But the slow production rate of local Texas fighters for HAL, as well as its prolonged development saga, remains a major concern for the IAF.

The IAF squadron Flying Daggers in Sulur has so far included only 16 of the 40 original Texas Mark-1 fighters, which were scheduled for delivery in December 2016 under two contracts worth Rs 8,802 million rupees previously signed.

The 83 Texas Mark-1A fighters are scheduled to have 43 improvements over the Mark-1 jets to improve maintainability, the AESA radar (electronically scanned active matrix) to replace the existing mechanical steering radar, air-to-air missile refueling BVR range (beyond visual range) and advanced electronic warfare to jam enemy radars and missiles.

The flight test for Texas Mark-1A is expected to be completed by 2022. After these 123 fighters, the IAF is also looking to induce 170 Texas Mark-2 or MWF (medium weight fighters) aircraft with more powerful engines and advanced avionics. , ”Said another source.

But Texas Mark-2 and the fifth-generation indigenous stealth fighter jet called the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) will take several years to bear fruit. For now, the IAF keeps the fingers crossed, the Texas Mark-1A does not take longer.