Nigeria, Philippines, Argentina Interested in Procuring Tejas Jets: HAL Chief

Defence Industry

 

New Delhi: India’s indigenously manufactured fighter aircraft Tejas appears to have evoked interest from Nigeria, Philippines, Argentina and Egypt, CB Ananthakrishnan, the Chairman and Managing Director of the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, said December 7.

Ananthakrishnan said talks are on with these countries for the possible procurement. “Nigeria, Philippines and Egypt are keen to procure Tejas Light Combat aircraft,” Ananthakrishnan told a news agency on the sidelines of an event.

On how India will proceed with the supply of the Tejas jets to Argentina if the procurement fructifies as the aircraft has some components sourced from the United Kingdom, the Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) said a way would be found out in such a scenario. After the 1982 Falklands War, the UK imposed an embargo on military sales to Argentina and especially prevented supply of hardware manufactured by it.

In view of the British restrictions, it is perceived that supply of military hardware comprising components sourced from the UK may not be easy for India. In July, the Argentine defence minister visited India with a focus on enhancing defence industrial partnership. The HAL had inked an agreement with the Argentinian Air Force to provide spares and services to its two-tonne class helicopters.

The defence ties between India and the Philippines have been on an upswing in the last few years. In January, the Philippines concluded a US$ 375 million deal with India for the procurement of three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile.

The Tejas is a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft capable of operating in high-threat air environments. It has been designed to undertake the air defence, maritime reconnaissance and strike roles. Tejas aircraft are set to be the mainstay of the Indian Air Force (IAF). It has already inducted nearly 40 Tejas of initial variants. In February 2021, the defence ministry sealed a Rs 48,000 crore deal with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for procurement of 83 Tejas MK-1A jets for the IAF. Last month, the ministry accorded an initial approval to procure an additional batch of 97 Tejas jets for the IAF.