SAAB efforts to collaborate with the Indian aeronautics company in the development of combat aircraft Tejas MK1A produced India has failed. The government does not support their proposal
“There is no collaboration envisaged with any European Aircraft Manufacturer for development of the Tejas Mark 1A,” Manohar Parrikar, India’s Minister of Defense, said.
Last month, SAAB’s India head and chairman Jan Widerström said that the company was in talks with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to develop the Tejas MK1A. SAAB offered to set up a production line in India under ‘Make in India’ scheme and to supply the latest Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar to HAL for Tejas MK1A.
However, the Indian government is not very keen to take this proposal forward as its own Defence Research Development Organisation is locally developing AESA at a cost of $67 million dollars. This project was approved by the government in January 2012 and is likely to be completed by May 2019, with a delay of 3 years.
The Tejas MK1A is a 4.5 generation aircraft which, the government says, will not lead to the development of indigenous fifth generation aircraft. Manohar Parrikar said in Parliament, “There is a separate program between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) from Indian side and M/s Rosboronexport from the Russian side for Design and Development (D&D) of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA).”
India formed its first Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) — Tejas squadron on 1st July, 2016 with two LCA Initial Operational Configuration (IOC) Series Production Aircraft. A further 18 IOC configured aircraft are planned for induction by 2018-19. This will be followed by 20 more aircraft in the Final Operation Configuration (FOC) standard, which are planned for induction from year 2019.