HAL Tejas and the MRCA

Heard something quite interesting. If it’s true, it will gladden a lot of hearts, especially some on this blog. Rumour is out that HAL will be the seventh agency that receives an RfP document from the Defence Ministry when the tender is opened in July/August. Sources say the government has decided to involve the Tejas programme in the sweepstakes, but is not in the least serious about considering it. In fact, it has apparently been decided (these are rumours, please remember, and totally unconfirmed) that the Tejas will be eliminated in the first down-select itself. The rationale – project a semblance of transparency and propriety to satisfy the swadeshis and communists (you’d be surprised, the kind of clout they have). The elimination of the aircraft would then justify and legitimize the IAF default views on the LCA. Sounds like too deep a plan, but it’s possible.

However, HAL chairman AK Baweja actually spoke out today to a reporter, and this seems to fly in the face of rumours. He said, “An order for 28 LCAs has already been placed by the air force and more orders are likely to follow. The Tejas is in a different weight category to what the MRCA tender is looking for, so there is no question of participating.”

It is, however, possible – possible, but unlikely – that Baweja is not aware that HAL will receive an RfP. The whole idea of sending HAL a tender invitation will, if it happens, be political, and possibly, in one way to offset the attention on foreign, foreign, foreign and the attendant dirt that comes with it.

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