In the face of the Indian Air Force raising questions about the capabilities of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas , the government is now aiming to install capability enhancements and speed up the production rate of the aircraft.
The rate of production of the Tejas Mk-1A will begin in 2019. Most of the 43 improvements have already been made and the tender process to install an Advanced Electronically Scanned Aray (AESA) and Self Protection Jammer is under way. A refueling professional would also be added to increase range. While the design cannot be changed and endurance imported as it is powered by the GE- 404 Engine , the enhancements will increase the capabilities of the aircraft.
The Indian Air Force had told the government that Tejas did not meet its requirements and was in the process of issuing a tender for the procurement of 100 jets through Strategic Partnership Mode , with Lockheed F-16 and SAAB Gripen as contenders.
Last year the defence ministry had issued the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) forb83 Mk-1A jets , but the Request for Proposal (RFP) had been repeatedly delayed. One official said the RFP would be issued soon.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was undertaking the enhancements and was in the process of setting up another assembly line at a cost of Rs.130 crores to increase production rate from the present 8 to 16.
It was the Indian Air Force which has issued the Initial Operational Clearance for Tejas. The progress of the program was closely monitored by the Ministry and the IAF