India is poised to enhance its Defence capabilities with a significant procurement initiative. The Indian Government has approved the acquisition of 97 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (Mark 1A) and has also given the green light for the procurement of 156 Prachand Combat helicopters. Among these, 90 helicopters are designated for the Army, while 66 are allocated for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
This landmark decision represents the largest order in the history of the Indian Air Force. Both the Tejas aircraft and the Prachand helicopters are domestically produced, with a combined value of Rs 1.1 lakh crore.
Presently, the Indian Air Force operates a fleet of 40 LCA aircraft. With this procurement, the defense arsenal is set to expand to 10 squadrons in the coming years, reaching a total of 220 LCA Mark aircraft.
Here are the five key points outlining India’s defense strategy for its indigenously developed aircraft:
Establishing International Brand Presence:
India’s Tejas faces challenges in securing international orders due to a limited fleet of operational aircraft, raising concerns about its credibility in providing sustained customer service.
Notably, the Tejas aircraft participated in a recent Malaysian Air Force tender but narrowly missed securing the deal, which was ultimately awarded to a South Korean fighter FA-50 jet. Several factors contributed to Tejas losing the bid.
The bolstering of the Air Force fleet not only elevates the credibility of the aircraft features but also augments the production of aircraft. This certainly captures the attention of new customers who consistently seek to validate the aircraft’s capabilities. Specifically, the Tejas aircraft has experienced a substantial increase in its flying hours, highlighting its robust strength and muscular prowess in contrast to other aircraft.
The integration of delta wings in Indian aircraft offers clear advantages over conventional counterparts; nevertheless, the actual effectiveness of this design can only be verified through real-world operations.
Tejas Mark 2 Engine Procurement and Future Expansion:
India Teajs has received a significant offer to manufacture the GE 414 engine, presenting a substantial opportunity for the country’s defense sector. However, it’s crucial to highlight that this engine is designated for the Tejas Mark 2.
Additionally, the success of any fighter jet in the global market hinges on a robust foundation, especially when introducing upgraded versions. To ensure international competitiveness, it is imperative to continue operationalizing Tejas Mark 1, enhancing its reliability and performance for potential foreign exports.
Phasing Out Outdated MiG-21 Fighter Jets:
India has made the strategic decision to decommission its entire fleet of aging MiG-21 fighter jets, colloquially referred to as “Flying Coffins” due to their notorious history of frequent crashes.
The unreliability of these aircraft has been underscored by numerous incidents, with one particular occurrence involving the loss of control over the Pakistan border. Additionally, there have been recurrent operational failures with other aircraft, further accentuating their inadequacy within the context of the current technological landscape.
Introduction of New Tejas Mark 1 Aircraft:
To address these challenges, India is in the process of phasing out the aging MiG-21 and MiG-27 aircraft from its defense service. The new Tejas Mark 1 aircraft is set to replace them, providing enhanced capabilities and bolstering the immunity of India’s defense operations.
Brand Promotion and Marketing for Indigenous Aircraft:
Recognizing the importance of user familiarity, India is actively promoting its self-developed aircraft, particularly after securing substantial orders for Tejas and Prachand. This not only showcases the strength of these aircraft in the international market but also establishes a benchmark for their credibility.
Showcasing Capabilities at International Events:
India’s recent participation in the Dubai Airshow featured impressive displays of flying capabilities, highlighting the prowess of indigenous aircraft. The performance of the Indian-made Dhruvu Helicopter garnered attention, further elevating the profile of Indian aircraft on the global stage.
Unique Features of Prachand Helicopter:
The Prachand helicopter, designed for battlefield deployment as an attack helicopter, stands out with its advanced weaponry and avionics. Positioned to compete with helicopters like the Apache, Turkish T129, and the European Tiger, Prachand emphasizes India’s capability to produce unique and technologically advanced military assets.
Elevating Indigenous Products:
This strategic decision underscores the government’s unwavering commitment to strengthening the nation’s defense capabilities while simultaneously fostering the growth of indigenous defense manufacturing.
The initiative encompasses a comprehensive approach, ranging from neutralizing tanks and armored personnel carriers to enhancing the Indian Navy’s surface platforms, positioning them as primary offensive weapons. Notably, the introduction of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk 1A for both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army marks a significant stride.
Simultaneously, the upgrade of Su-30 MKI Aircraft, featuring the latest weapon integration and avionics, enhances its overall power. The entire process is set to be executed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), further promoting indigenous prowess.
Additionally, the approval for the development of Medium Range Anti-Ship Missiles for the Indian Navy’s surface platforms underscores the nation’s commitment to advancing its indigenous defense capabilities.