In a major decision, the Modi government on Wednesday approved the procurement of 83 indigenously-developed light combat aircraft Tejas for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at a cost of Rs 48,000 crore. “The LCA Tejas is going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in (the) years to come. LCA-Tejas incorporates a large number of new technologies, many of which were never attempted in India,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted. Also Read - Coronavirus Vaccine Drive Hallmark For Self-reliant India: BJP Leaders Hail PM Modi's Mega Rollout Plan

According to Singh, the deal of 83 LCA Mk-1A jets will be a game changer for self-reliance in Indian defence manufacturing. The jets to be ordered include 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 trainer aircraft at the cost of 45,696 crore, along with the design and development of infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 1,202 crore, the defence ministry said in a statement. Also Read - Tejas Mark 1A-Lethal Punch for Enemy And A Symbol of Indian Technology

“The LCA-Tejas programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant Atmanirbhar-self-sustaining ecosystem,” Singh tweeted and thanked the Prime Minister for the landmark decision. Also Read - India Clears Tejas Jet Deal Worth Rs 48K Crore, PM Says Step to Strengthen Movement for 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat'

“The Light Combat Aircraft-Tejas is going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in years to come. LCA-Tejas incorporates a large number of new technologies many of which were never attempted in India. The indigenous content of LCA-Tejas is 50% in Mk1A variant which will be enhanced to 60%,” he added.

“The HAL has already set-up second line manufacturing facilities at its Nasik and Bengaluru Divisions. Equipped with the augmented infrastructure the HAL will steer LCA-Mk1A production for timely deliveries to the IAF,” he said.

The defence minister said that aircraft maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has already set up second-line manufacturing facilities at its Nasik and Bengaluru divisions.

The 83 Tejas Mark-1A fighters will have 43 “improvements” to improve maintainability, 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.