I think the reporting on this is screwy.
They ordered 83 more Tejas Mk1A's born of the Indian LCA "L
ircraft" program. Made in India. Plus the 40 already
under contract. So that's ~123 total under contract.
To replace Bisons and Jaguars (~150 total)
They still have a requirement for the "medium" fighter to replace the M2000's and MiG-29's (about 120). (And the navy wants a carrier-borne twin
"medium" fighter to replace the MiG-29). With attrition numbers, they want 126 minimum and an option for 63 more. Those will need to be foreign-buys
because they can't wait/hope for Tejas II indefinitely.
The LCA buy just kills the hopes for the smaller competitors for the medium fighter buy. No need for a Gripen or F-16 buy if you're buying large
amounts of LCA. The foreign-buy will probably be filled by something more capable like more Rafales.
Right now, India has purchased 36 Rafales for that medium requirement. Dassault and team are investing 50% of the Rafale purchase price back into HAL
and other subs in India. They have been hashing more purchases for a long time, including to what extent Indian industry has future workshare (in the
form of production, assembly, avionics, etc) or "offsets" like the original purchase. It's hard to imagine that the "medium fighter" requirements for
the IAF won't be filled by more Rafales, now that the LCA portion is being filled.
The alternative was buying something cheaper like the F-16 or Gripen in large enough numbers (200+) to fill out the fleet so you wouldn't need to buy
LCA en masse. Maybe supplemented by smaller numbers of (additional) Rafales and Sukhois. Replacing Bisons, Jags, M2000, and MiGs with one airframe.
That was the original plan, and they had a requirement that the medium be single engine. That's how the Gripen and F-16 got into the mix.
That seems like a deadend if they are buying more Tejas airframes, and might have been a deadend anyway for financial reasons, even if it's attractive
at face value.
There is maybe an outside chance for someone else to grab a "medium-fighter" contract, but it'd be all about the cost and the offsets or licensing.
Seems like Dassault's to lose, especially given the co-existing Naval requirement.
India is also continuing to license produce the Su-30 in India as the "high" or "heavy" part of their mix.
But India's procurement is completely fouled up for sure. It's been a mess for a long time. Like everything else there are competing interests and
requirements engaged in a struggle for $. And the decision -makers aren't static (or necessarily competent). And they are worse than most.
on 19-5-2020 by RadioRobert because: (no reason given)