- The government is seriously considering whether to hand over the project to build a new, improved version of the ‘Tejas’ indigenous fighter plane to the private sector.
- This thinking, independent experts say, is yet to give the country a combat-ready modern fighter despite being in the works for more than three decades.
- At stake for private sector participants is a potential order for more than 160 improved Tejas Mk II fighters that the Indian Air Force desperately needs to plug vital operational gaps.
- As the government feel the state-run agencies involved in the LCA – Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and the defence ministry’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) – do not simply have the capacity to meet.
- Another proposal doing the rounds suggests the setting up of a special purpose vehicle for the project in which DRDO and HAL, could be partners along with the private sector.
- A foreign collaborator could also be a part of this.
- An improved version of the fighter that meets air force requirements would also have a good export potential.