Ahead of the AERO India show 3-5 February, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated HAL’s second Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) plant in Bangalore on 1 February.
Lauding the company’s efforts to increase the production capacity for LCA, which is going to be the backbone of IAF fighter fleet in years to come, the Minister said “HAL’s new LCA facility is [an] example of how ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ [a self-reliant India] is shaping and HAL deserves the largest indigenous order of 83 LCA Mk-IA. LCA is [the] pride of India and sends the right message to others that India can make fighters of [this] class in-house. The fighter is superior in many ways when compared to other fighters in its category, besides being cost-effective. I compliment HAL for working through the COVID times and bringing out this facility […] The company has a lot of talent and more orders should come […] its way in future. We cannot depend on others [for] security issues and therefore will make HAL stronger, whatever it takes.”
The new facility has been set up in advance of receiving the order to which the Minister referred, company officials pointed out. The 35-acre plant will enable HAL to double LCA production to 16 aircraft per year. State-of-the-art machine tools and equipment, including CNC profilers and five-axis machining centres, appropriate test rigs, specialised heat treatment facilities and a host of productivity improvements have also been undertaken with a view to capacity augmentation.
The government authorised the procurement of 83 LCA Mk1A aircraft on 13 January, with delivery to commence within 36 months and all aircraft to be handed over to the IAF within the next decade. Some 500 production partners across India are involved in the project, which reinforces the Prime Minister’s vision for Aatmanirbhar Bharat.