New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday raised the first squadron of home-grown Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas with the induction of two aircrafts into the force.
Defence Minister of India Manohar Parrikar, while heralding the arrival of indigenously built defence aircrafts, said that the Tejas aircraft was 'quite potent' and 'easy to handle'. The Minister said that the Indian Air Force had more than 55% indigenous contents in most of the aircrafts.
Asked about whether Friday's induction presented itself as a milestone for self-reliance and Make in India initiative launched by the NDA government, Parrikar said that the Tejas aircraft was a 33-year-old programme which hadn't crystallised for induction into the IAF.
"This is a 33-year-old programme and it was not getting crystallised for actual induction. This is an indigenously developed, and even now, we have more than 55% indigenous content. And we are very happy that even the trials of other requirements for future supplies have been successfully conducted," Parrikar said.
Parrikar also told NewsX that the Tejas aircraft was in a trial state and that with acquisition of advanced defence technology from outside, the percentage of indigenous content will improve. Asked about the purchase of Rafale Jets which India had secured, the minister said that the Tejas aircraft was a Light Combat Aircraft which was a requirement for the Indian Air Force.
"It is a big boost for Make in India," said Parrikar. "Once production is ramped up, it will have an ecosystem of its own."
The Defence Minister also said that India will be able to save a lot of money through the production of indigenous aircrafts.