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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.