The Indian Air Force (IAF) may to ink a pact with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for acquiring 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) as negotiations over the price of the fighter jets are almost done, news agency IANS reported on Tuesday.
"The cost negotiating committee is almost finished with the price negotiations of the aircraft. Once it is done, IAF will enter into a deal with the HAL," a senior IAF official told IANS.
In December last year, the Indian Air Force issued the request for proposal (RFP) to HAL for the procurement of 83 Tejas light combat aircraft at a cost of over Rs 50,000 crore.
The IAF had earlier placed an order with the HAL for 40 Tejas aircraft.
The Defence Acquisition Council, the defence ministry's highest decision making body on procurement, had in November last year approved purchase of 83 Tejas Mark 1 A by IAF at a cost of Rs 50,025 crore.
Sources said out of the 83 LCA, 10 will be used for training purposes.
According to official figures, 14 squadrons of the MiG 21, MiG 27 and MiG 29 are due for retirement in the next 10 years which will bring down the fighter squadron strength to 19 by 2027 from the current 33.
The strength may be further reduced to 16 by 2032.
The lifespan of the jet would be a minimum of 30 years just like any other frontline combat aircraft. The combat jets are classified under various generations depending on their avionics, capability and weapons systems.
The current fleet of fighter jets with the IAF range from three-and-half generation to the fourth generation.