India’s homegrown Tejas fighter jets are participating in the Sri Lankan Air Force’s aerobatic show amid speculation that the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) might set up a logistics base in the island nation.
Sri Lankan pilots would get an opportunity to undertake independent sorties as well. The event is being held to mark the SLAF’s 70th anniversary.
According to reports, Tejas trainer would be on display for the first time. An official statement said that India is sending ‘Made in India’ aircraft to showcase the indigenous technical prowess of the Indian research and development sector and the reliability of Indian products.
The two countries and their militaries, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy’s 23 aircraft will participate in the event with an aerobatic display by Sarang (Advanced Light Helicopter), Surya Kiran (Hawks), Tejas Fighter Aircraft, Tejas Trainer, and the Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft also on the cards.
The officers from Sri Lanka Air Force and Sri Lanka Navy will also have firsthand experience onboard the Indian Navy’s Maritime Patrol Aircraft Dornier.
Indian High Commission in Colombo has said Sri Lanka is “Priority One” partner for India in the defense sphere. Earlier, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, during his visit to Colombo for a trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation talks, had reiterated India’s fullest cooperation in the field of defense and security.
HAL To Set Up Overseas Logistics Bases
Last year, there were reports saying the state-owned HAL was looking to set up bases in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka as part of its efforts to sell Tejas and military helicopters.
The company’s chairman and managing director R Madhavan was quoted as saying by The Economic Times that HAL was focusing on boosting exports in sync with the government’s priority.
He said that there are other countries in West Asia which too were in touch with the HAL for procurement of key products. According to Madavan, Tejas has a good export potential as it is a four-and-half generation fighter jet. Developed by Aeronautical Development Agency and the HAL, Tejas has a lifespan of 30 years, like any other frontline combat aircraft.
A single-engine fourth-generation, multirole light fighter, Tejas is an outcome of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program which began in the 1980s to replace India’s aging MiG-21 fighters. After Marut, Tejas is HAL’s second supersonic fighter.
Tejas would become frontline fighter jets for Indian Air Force as an order for 40 jets have been placed and a contract for another 83 would be sealed soon for a cost of around Rs 38,000 crore.