Why is the UAE interested in Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). One thing that might have attracted the UAE officials is that LCA Tejas has around 50% locally developed parts, while its engines are American, radar, helmet display and laser pod are of Israeli origin while Russians has supplied the missiles. This makes HAL Tejas a truly international, low-cost fighter jet.
Mohammed Ahmed Al Bawardi Al Falacy, UAE’s minister of state for defence affairs recently visited HAL facilities in Bengaluru and was given a briefing of the ongoing projects in the HAL. Al Falacy was taken around the Helicopter Complex, LCA Tejas Division and Hawk final assembly hangar. He displayed a keen interest in LCA Tejas,” HAL said releasing a statement.
The UAE minister also visited the Indian Air Force’s Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment which conducts flight testing of aircraft, airborne systems and weapon stores, prior to their induction.
Earlier, the long-delayed LCA Tejas program successfully demonstrated its air-to-air refuelling capability during a trial involving an Ilyushin Il-78MKI tanker. The successful refuelling test was described as a big leap in the developmental stage and improved the possibilities of the fighter jet getting a final operational clearance certificate.
Currently, the HAL is working on an order of 123 such jets ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF), which is thinking of additional purchase of the advanced version of the aircraft. Singapore, Egypt, and Sri Lanka had earlier shown interest in the jet, but they never revealed the status, officially, of such interest. The low cost and simple design of Tejas make it attractive for cost-conscious countries in Asia.