On November 30, 2023, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), presided over by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, approved the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the purchase of 97 additional LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jets.
After the AoN, contracts are usually collaborated out with manufacturers and then sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which is led by the Prime Minister. Nonetheless, the transaction likely to go smoothly because the aircraft to be acquired were already ordered in 2021, including an agreement for 83 Tejas Mk1A fighter jets. The Indian Air Force (IAF) does not expect to require any major modifications to the aircraft, and HAL is striving to raise the percentage of indigenous material in the second batch from 65% to 80%.
HAL sources state that each Tejas Mk1A jet will not likely cost more than Rs 315 crore, and that the unit cost is not expected to rise. This is because the supply chains and manufacturing facilities are already in place, and since the second-order book was cleared in less than two years, it is unlikely that price modifications related to inflation will be taken into account. The IAF and HAL expect to complete the contract by mid-2024.
HAL opened its Nashik assembly line, which had previously manufactured Su-30MKI fighter jets, to create LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jets, thereby expanding its LCA-Tejas production line. HAL can deliver 24 aircraft annually beginning in 2026 thanks to its three LCA-Tejas production lines. This would enable the faster induction of the 97 LCA-Tejas Mk1A planes that are planned for next year's order.