State-owned defence manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd is looking to significantly increase the involvement of private companies in manufacturing Tejas combat jets even as readies for an additional order for about 200 units of the latest Tejas model, government officials said. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has already roped in private players including L&T to make key components for 123 Tejas Mark 1 and 1A light combat aircraft (LCAs) that it is building for Indian Air Force (IAF).
In the long run, HAL plans to play the role of a system integrator with private firms doing most of the manufacturing, the sources said.
With the private sector participation, HAL’s per year production capacity of Tejas is expected to scale up to 24, officials said. Out of 123 combat jets the company is making for IAF, 40 are Mark 1 version and the remaining 83 are Mark 1A version. In the case of the 83 Tejas Mark 1A jets, HAL intends to make use of L&T’s capabilities for making wings of the aircraft, while Dynamatic Technologies Ltd is expected to make the front fuselage, or main body, VEM Technologies the centre fuselage and Alpha Doca would make the rear fuselage, officials said. “We have placed orders (for the 83 Tejas) with these firms, who will make the parts and if they are successful the parts will be integrated,” one of the sources said.
HAL will work with the private sector to make components for the 40 Mark 1jets as well. “This will ensure that the private sector becomes tier 1 suppliers and can ramp up their supply chain,” the person said. HAL is also looking at bringing the private sector to work on Tejas Mark 2 version. “This will be a game changer for the private sector. In this, HAL is looking at being a systems integrator, while the private firms will be the manufacturers. This will increase production,” one of the sources said.
IAF wants to induct 201Mark 2 Tejas jets, which will have additional capabilities such as better range than the Mark 1and 1A. “The Mark 2 will have qualities like the Gripen and Mirage fighters and will be called Medium Combat Aircraft instead of LCA,” one of the officials said. The order for Mark 2 will be placed once HAL understands what all capabilities IAF wants in the aircraft.