Aspiring for overseas success, New Delhi is reportedly in talks with Egypt for the sale of Light Combat Aircraft and Helicopters, along with an offer to set up a manufacturing plant in the Arab state.
According to New Delhi based media Economic Times, a series of high-level engagements between officials from both nations have already taken place. The Commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Air Force (EAF), Air Marshal Mohamed Abbas Helmy will also be on an official visit to India during which he will observe the manufacture and maintenance services for the aircraft.
Egypt is one of the many nations to evaluate LCA Tejas aircraft, indigenously designed and produced by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) respectively. The EAF is looking to procure 70 airframes of LCA to complement MiG-29 and Rafale aircraft, the mainstay of modern EAF. It also expects to establish a manufacturing unit within its own territory to promote the aerospace industry.
In 2018, EAF was looking at Tejas as a genuine replacement for vintage MiG-21/F-7 and Mirage V aircraft, but it didn’t go through due to political reasons as the platform had Israeli sub-systems. Furthermore, it was still in the pre-production stage which would have created uncertainty for timely delivery to EAF if ordered.
Besides LCA, helicopters like Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), produced by HAL are in service with Indian military wings. Similar manufacturing facilities are being offered with a helicopters package.
The military ties between India and Egypt are growing strongly. Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary had visited Cairo in November 2021 to attend the Air Power Symposium and Defence Exposition in Cairo. At present, a 57-member contingent, along with Su-30MKI fighter aircraft and C-17 airlifter, are in Egypt as well, participating in Tactical Leadership Programme.
Tejas Mk1A, the latest fighter variant is on offer. It will integrate an Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESAR), Beyond Visual Range Combat Capability with lethal air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions, an advanced electronic warfare suite with Self Protection Jammer (SPJ), and more to qualify as an effective fourth-generation fighter aircraft and meet the demands of contemporary battlefield.
“Be it fixed wing requirement or rotary wing requirement, India is offering to jointly setup production facilities there. There is a significant demand of fighter aircraft in the region and Egypt will be a good base.” Source told Economic Times.
Tejas is on offer to multiple other nations, which are seeking a potent MultiRole LCA solution. Malaysia and Argentina are also in talks to discuss the platform for acquisition. Since 2016, India is on a campaign to promote the aircraft globally to achieve export success while also mass-producing it for domestic operators. Customer-specific customizations are also being offered.
For Malaysia, HAL is ready to collaborate with a local Malaysian firm to fulfill the demand for 30% sub-systems’ production in Malaysia. For Argentina, it is already assured that British origin components, which include radome, ejection seat, etc., would be replaced by indigenous or third-party origin counterparts. And finally, for Egypt, manufacturing facilities are ready to be provided in the proposal.