On March 18, 2020, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) under the chairmanship of Union Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh held a meeting with its Acquisition Wing in New Delhi. This was the first meeting of DAC after the separation of duties between the Department of Defence (DoD) and the Department of Military Affairs (DMA). During the meet, DAC has approved the procurement of 83 Tejas Mark-1A jets from HAL for the Indian Air Force (IAF), marking a boost to the government’s flagship “Make in India” programme. The proposal will now be sent for consideration of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).About 83 Tejas Mark-1A jets procurement:
- The deliveries of 83 Tejas Mark-1A jets will begin three years after the contract is inked.
- The Mark-1A fighters are the enhanced versions of Mark-1 jets with a total of 43 improvements. It also has AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar to replace existing mechanically-steered radar, air-to-air refuelling, long-range BVR (beyond visual range) missiles and advanced electronic warfare to jam enemy radars and missiles.
- The flight testing for the Tejas Mark-1A is expected to be completed by 2022.
Point to be noted: Till now only 16 of the original 40 Tejas Mark-1 fighters are inducted in IAF, which were all slated for delivery by December 2016 under two contracts worth Rs 8,802 crore inked earlier.
Other approvals by DAC:
–Procurement of indigenous Defence equipment: It has approved the Rs 1,300 crore procurement of indigenous Defence equipment consisting of Aerial Fuses and Twin-Dome Simulators for Hawk Mk32 aircraft, for IAF
–Amendment in DPP 2016: It also approved an amendment to the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 to enable review by a Costing Committee of bids submitted by Joint Ventures of Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs)/Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)/DRDO from whom procurement of Defence items is undertaken on a nomination basis. This amendment is to ensure more transparency in costs and to compress the timelines for negotiation of the contract.
Light Combat Aircraft Tejas has been indigenously-designed by Aircraft Development Agency (ADA) under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Their aim is to replace ageing MiG-21 fighters of IAF.