In view of the fact that Egypt is in the market for new trainer aircraft, India has offered to set up production facilities in Egypt for the Tejas Mk1A.
The Egyptian Air force (EAF) is in the market for a new trainer aircraft to replace its aging fleet and to train its student pilots for the newly delivered Rafale fighter jet, and incoming Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet.
Several aircraft manufacturers have earlier indicated interest to supply training aircraft, with Grob Aircraft, Sierra Nevada, Aero Vodochody and Leonardo already negotiating.
Now India’s state-owned manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has offered its LCA-Tejas to be used as lead-in fighter training (LIFT) for Egyptian requirement for 70 LIFT aircraft as it plans to retire Chinese-made 100 K-8E trainer aircraft.
HAL has offered to set up a local production line and technology transfer in Egypt for the Tejas MK1 and is also pitching its range of indigenous choppers like the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH).
Over the past few weeks, a number of high-level engagements have taken place with Egypt, and the Egyptian Air Force chief is expected to visit India in a few days, during which expertise in manufacturing, as well as maintenance of aircraft fleet, will be showcased.
In November last year, Chief of Air Staff VR Chaudhari made a five-day visit to Egypt to attend the Air Power Symposium and Defence Exposition (EDEX) in Cairo. He delivered a keynote address: “Strategic air intelligence in confronting new and non-organized threats.”
At around $42 million per unit, the Tejas LCA is considered a low-cost alternative to western designs, due to economies of scale after the IAF placed an order for 83 fighter jets of the Mk1A variant.
HAL had earlier announced that it plans to develop a lead-in fighter training (LIFT) variant based on the Tejas airframe bereft of high-end sensors and avionics but will include training-specific cockpit equipment including Wide Area Display (WAD) to be used as an Advance Jet Trainer for new pilots.
The LCA Tejas is considered a fourth-generation fighter equipped with fly-by-wire (FBW) fighter and an in-flight refueling (IFR) capability that enables long-range missions.