LCA Tejas SP-3 flight tests
LCA Tejas SP-3 took to air for 15 minutes in its maiden flight.Aeronautical Development Agency

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has defended the price tag for the MK-1A version of the indigenously built fighter aircraft, Tejas. The Indian Airforce (IAF) had recently got the nod from the Ministry of Defence to review Tejas's price. The IAF is of the argument that the price quoted by the HAL is way beyond its capacity.

Last week, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the ministry has constituted a committee to review the cost of products manufactured by Defence Public Sector Undertakings. In that regard, the first product that would be examined is the LCA Mk-1A. Headed by Defence Ministry's Director of Costs, the committee has been given 60 days to look into the cost of the LCA MK-1A.

According to The Economic Times, HAL had quoted a price of Rs 463 crore for LCA MK-1A which is said to be costlier than IAF's most advanced fighter aircraft -- Sukhoi 30 Mki.

Last month, India's first indigenously built fight aircraft had missed yet another deadline to get its final operational clearance (FOC). The delays in many areas have resulted in an exponential rise in its cost to Rs. 75,000.

An HAL official in an interview with Economic Times argued that "it is futile to compare the LCA MK-1A which is 4.5 generation aircraft with most advanced features like Active Electro­nically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, additional electronic warfare suite, special data link packages, self-protection jammer, satellite navigation systems, improved flight control, electrical and electronics system, with the Sukhoi 30 MKI which is a fourth generation machine."

The HAL has constructed a second assembly line to pace up the production of Tejas from current 8 to 15 peryear.