India showcased its Tejas Light Combat Aircraft at the Singapore Air Show recently with an eye toward the indigenous jet’s export potential.
Three Tejas jets and a 44-member Indian Air Force (IAF) crew were on hand in Singapore to participate in the air show, which ran from February 15-18.
“IAF will be pitching the indigenous Tejas MK-I ac alongside participants from across the world. The Tejas aircraft will be enthralling the audience with its display of low level aerobatics displaying its superior handling characteristics and maneuverability,” the country’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“The participation of Indian Air Force in the Air Show provides India with the opportunity to showcase the Tejas aircraft and to interact with counterparts from RSAF (Royal Singapore Air Force) & other participating contingents,” it added.
Last February, India awarded Rs 48,000 crore ($6.43 billion) to state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. for 83 Tejas aircraft, its largest-ever indigenous defense procurement.
The aircraft is reportedly considered a strong contender for the Malaysian Air Force. However, there has not been an official announcement to date.
About the Aircraft
The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft is an agile, single-engine, multi-purpose combat aircraft. In February 2019, after receiving final operational clearance, it became the country’s first indigenous fighter.
The delta-wing jet is designed for air combat, offensive air support, reconnaissance, and anti-ship warfare.
The fourth-generation aircraft includes critical operational features such as an Electronic Warfare Suite, Active Electronically-Scanned Array Radar, and air-to-air refueling.
Capable of carrying a payload of 3.5 tons, the supersonic combat fighter can be equipped with precision-guided missiles and long-range, “over the horizon” missiles.
Tejas Mark 2
After ordering more than 100 Tejas fighters, India is developing the Tejas Mark 2, a bigger, more powerful medium fighter.
In November 2021, the IAF signed off on a comprehensive design review of the new Tejas fighter, clearing the way for the manufacture of a prototype for testing. The production of the jet is scheduled to begin in 2023.
Boost to Exports
India has been trying to boost its defense exports while prioritizing local production.
The defense ministry has set a target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore ($25 billion) in defense manufacturing by 2025, including an export plan of Rs 35,000 crore ($5 billion) in military supplies.