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India floating AESA radar bids for HAL Tejas Mk-1A
August 18, 2017
A Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Tejas lightweight multi-role fighter. Photo credit: Government of India

India floating AESA radar bids for HAL Tejas Mk-1A

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has issued a tender for active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radars for the HAL Tejas Mk-1A lightweight multi-role fighter.

A source from HAL informed the Economic Times that the tender – packaged as an ‘expression-of-interest’ was sent on Wednesday, 14 December to five major leading defence vendors.

Israel’s Elta is the leading contender.

Defense News reports that India will be seeking 100 AESA radars for $1.85 billion U.S.

Defense News added that 100 self-protection jamming pods will be sought for $200 million U.S., for which bids had been sent to Elta, Saab, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Thales, Rosonboronexport, Indra, and Leonardo (likely Elettronica, in which Leonardo owns 31%).

In November, the Government of India ordered 83 HAL Tejas Mk-1A fighters for $7.5 billion U.S.

HAL’s bid is essentially a component of that order.

As per the Economic Times, HAL is currently manufacturing eight Tejas units per year, but it is working to ramp-up the production annual production rate to 16 by 2018.

Notes & Comments:

The Economic Times noted that Israel – i.e. Elta – is the leading candidate to fulfill the Tejas Mk-1A AESA radar requirement. This would make sense considering that Elta had been chosen – via its EL/M-2032 pulse-Doppler radar – to equip the Tejas Mk1. HAL evidently has a relationship with Elta and the fact that the Tejas is poised to use the Rafael Derby would favour continuity.

That said, Thales’ entry on the back of the Indian Air Force (IAF)’s multi-billion dollar Rafale purchase could add a competitive dimension. Paired with the commercial offset element, Thales could consider offering a solution in parallel with technology expertise and support.

  • GhalibKabir

    SIPRI has listed 200 ELTA 2052 AESA radar sales to India as of December 2015. However, Israeli help has often come at quite high prices and Parrikar has been vocal about it, this might be a combo of

    1. A chance to beat down costs (not very clear how)
    2. Expand the efforts to get hands on AESA technology to make India self reliant soon

    The ELTA 2052 purchased would continue to get fitted on the 80 odd Jaguars under the DARIN 3 ongoing upgrades (and on the LP series Tejas Mk 1/1A?).

    • Donny G

      Unlikely, despite the costs – The off-the-shelf Israeli solution is most likely to be bought.

    • Syed Arbab Shah

      A better way to get AESA technology along with GaN technology would be to accept SAAB ‘s offer for the single engine fighter bid

      • GhalibKabir

        That was my thought too, but then careful observation of the Gripen offer leads to them failing to meet two key points (they cannot give what they don’t have)

        1. No control over Engine/related development
        2. Reliance on Selex for radar (I get the point they are related and all)..

        Selex/Finmeccanica/Leonardo is also being invited though my guess is Raytheon/Northrop or Elta will end up winning.

  • Donny G

    They will obviously buy them from Israel

  • MT

    An aesa radar cost 18 mill $ a piece. That’s hell lot of money.
    I was expecting around 4/5 mil $

  • GhalibKabir

    @amar007:disqus , that is the precise problem for us. Given past experiences with the Russians (Engines, SMERCH related blow), French (DCNS saga) and Israelis (Barak costs and tech share inversion)…I doubt if ELTA or Northrop will help us in AESA tech. It might be akin to Cryogenic engine development when India went native/reverse engineered where possible.

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