Dec 30, 2013
HAL to build 8, then 12, Tejas fighters each year
On December 20, the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) was cleared to enter operational service with the Indian Air Force (IAF). Now Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) faces the daunting transition from handcrafting Tejas prototypes into factory-assembling the 200-fighter Tejas fleet that Defence Minister has envisioned.
HAL aims to build 12 Tejas fighters each year.
Work is already underway on the first IAF order of 20 Tejas Mark I fighters, with an order for 20 more in the pipeline once the aircraft gets "final operational clearance" next year. The first two fighters being "series produced" - they are numbered SP-1 and SP-2 - are visibly taking shape.
By end-March 2014, SP-1 will fly, and SP-2 will fly a few months later. By the end of next year four Tejas will be in production. In 2015-16, will be built six fighters, and in 2016-17, nine will be built, until an annual capacity of 12 Tejas fighters.