HAL readies 2nd plant in Bengaluru

Buoyed by the recent Cabinet Committee on Security approval for procurement of 83 Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas Mark-1A’ worth Rs.47,000 crore, defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is geared up to make operational a dedicated second LCA plant in Bengaluru.

The new plant at Doddanekundi, according to HAL sources, will be inaugurated by defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday. “The plant, when commissioned fully, will be able to produce 16 LCAs per year. We’ll make the Tejas Mark-1A and the trainers here,” said one of the sources.

At present, HAL has the capacity to manufacture eight LCAs per year. HAL’s first dedicated LCA plant and its Aircraft Division in Bengaluru are both producing them. “The plant that will be inaugurated by the defence minister will technically be the third, given that the Aircraft Division also make LCAs now,” the source said.

The Tejas Mark-1A aircraft worth Rs.46,898 crore — 73 fighters and 10 trainers — cleared by the CCS on January 13, will have 43 “improvements” over the Tejas Mark-1jets, which the Indian Air Force has already placed orders for earlier. “From the date of the signing the contract, HAL will have 36 months to deliver the first batch of aircraft,” the source said.

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