In a written response to the request of the deputies of the upper house of the Indian Parliament, Defense Minister AK Antony said that the cost of the development program for light combat aircraft LCA "Tedzhas" is 79,66 billion rupees (1,09 billion dollars).
This amount, in addition to the cost of developing LCA "Tejas" ("Phase-1" and "Phase-2"), includes the cost of assembling 15 prototypes and creating the infrastructure for the production of 8 aircraft per year.
This is comparable to the cost of the development of the JAS-39 "Gripen NG" fighter, constituting 1,8 billion dollars (including the development of 5 prototypes).
At the same time, as A. Anthony noted, the share of components of national production in the LCA design is about 60%. As a result, the cost of production, as well as the costs during operation of the Tejas, will be significantly lower than that of any other aircraft of comparable class.
The cost of development programs of LCA "Tejas" for the Air Force and its options for the Navy is:
- light combat aircraft (LCA) "Phase-1" - 21,88 billion rupees;
- light combat aircraft (LCA) "Phase-2" - 57,78 billion rupees;
- light combat aircraft (LCA) "Phase-3" - 24,32 billion rupees;
- Deck version LCA Mk.1 - 17,15 billion rupees;
- deck version LCA Mk.2 - 19,21 billion rupees.
The total cost of the program is 140,33 billion rupees (1,92 billion dollars).
At a ceremony held in Bangalore on December 19, 2013, Indian Defense Minister AK Anthony handed over to the Air Force Commander, Chief Marshal aviation N.A.K. Brown's certificate of achievement by the LCA Tejas light combat aircraft of initial operational readiness for combat use (IOC). This document allows you to start mass production of LCA.
Originally planned to produce eight aircraft per year. Further, it is planned to increase the annual assembly rate to 16 aircraft. The first 20 aircraft LCA aircraft ordered by the Indian Air Force will be produced in the IOC version. The assembly of the next batch of 20 machines will begin after reaching the state of full readiness of the LCA for combat use (FOC).
According to Business Standard, the Indian Air Force approved a plan to form six Tejas squadrons — two squadrons will be equipped with Mk.1 versions and four Mk.2 versions. In the future, they will replace the outdated MiG-21 and MiG-27.
In addition, the Navy plans to buy 40-50 aircraft "Tejas" for promising aircraft carriers.
From the start of the program in 1985 and until the planned receipt of a certificate of full readiness for combat use, the total cost of the program will be 79,66 billion rupees. Additionally, 24,32 billion rupees were allocated to the “Tejas” Mk.2 improvement program, which increased the cost of the project to 103,97 billion rupees. Separately, 36,36 billion rupees were allocated to develop the version of the "Tejas" for the Navy.
According to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd), the final cost of the fighter version of the Mk.1 will be 1,62 billion rupees. The average cost of one aircraft as part of the serial production of 344 planes of all versions planned for purchase (294 units for the Air Force and 50 units for the Navy) is estimated at 2,09 billion rupees (33,5 million dollars).
For comparison: purchased in 1980-x. Mirage-2000 fighters are currently being upgraded at a cost of 45 million dollars per aircraft. Heavier Su-30MKI is worth more than 4 billion rupees (65 million dollars). The cost of the Rafale fighter aircraft is estimated at 7,5-8,5 billion rupees (120-140 million dollars).
According to Indian expert Pushpindar Singh, an order for a larger number of Tejas fighter jets would further reduce the price, which would increase interest in him from the Air Force of a number of countries planning to replace the MiG-3500 fighters in total to 21, Mirage-3 »And early versions of F-5 and F-16.
Competitor "Tejas" in the world market, comparable in class and price parameters, is JF-17 "Thunder", which is assembled in China and Pakistan.