New Delhi: The Centre on Friday said that the United States was among six countries which were interested in purchasing Tejas fighter aircraft from India. Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, in response to a question in Lok Sabha on Malaysia approaching India for the aircraft, said Argentina, Australia, Egypt, USA, Indonesia and Philippines have also shown interest in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
The Minister also confirmed that the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a defence PSU under the ministry, has offered to sell 18 Tejas jets to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).
Tejas, manufactured by the HAL, is a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft capable of operating in high-threat air environments. In February last year, the defence ministry sealed a Rs 48,000 crore deal with HAL for the procurement of 83 Tejas light combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Malaysia is procuring the aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of Russian MiG-29 fighter planes. In October 2021, the HAL had responded to a request for proposal (RFP) issued against tender released by Malaysian Air Force for 18 fighter lead in trainer – Light Combat Aircraft (FLIT – LCA), it said. The HAL offered Malaysia the twin seater variant of the Tejas LCA.
“The Government has taken several policy initiatives in the past few years and brought in reforms to encourage indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment in the country, thereby expanding their production,” said the Minister in a written reply.
(With PTI inputs)