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HAL, PADC Offer Tejas Naval Strike Fighter to PAF

Our Bureau - : Mar 6, 2024 - : 10:44 pm

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), in cooperation with the Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation (PADC), is offering the Tejas jet fighters to the Philippine Air Force (PAF). The offer may include a customized variant of the aircraft, tailored for naval strike and anti-shipping roles.

In this role, the Tejas Mk.1A Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) will be equipped with either India’s subsonic Naval Anti-Ship Missile-Extended Range (NASM-ER) or the supersonic Brahmos-NG air-launched anti-ship missile/

This initiative was thought of as part of the Multirole Fighter Acquisition Project, potentially serving as a more cost-effective alternative to other contenders like the Saab JAS-39 Gripen and Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70/72 Viper. However, the Re-Horizon 3 procurement plan also mentions a separate project for surface attack aircraft within the LCA category, where the KAI FA-50 Block 20 Fighting Eagle is also competing.

In this context, the Tejas Mk.1A may emerge as a competitor to South Korea’s KAI FA-50. Notably, the Tejas hold an advantage in anti-shipping capabilities, as the FA-50 Block 20 has yet to be developed to carry and deploy purpose-built anti-ship missiles.

The collaboration with PADC, recently revitalised under the Department of National Defense, is advantageous for HAL. This partnership enhances HAL’s standing as a relevant participant in the program, with potential involvement from PADC in localized aircraft maintenance, customization of the Tejas Mk.1A to PAF’s requirements, and possibly local assembly.

The recent engagement of Indian defence companies in the Philippines also underscores a growing interest in collaboration within the defence sector. PADC CEO Raymond Mitra has confirmed the partnership with HAL, affirming their commitment to offering the Tejas Mk.1A to meet the PAF’s needs.

Photo: Indian Air Force, Wikimedia Commons.


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