Reports are already suggesting that the made-in-India fighter jet, LCA Tejas (Light Combat Aircraft), has emerged as a ‘frontrunner’ for the Malaysian requirement of light combat aircraft. Further, talks are going on to supply highly sophisticated weapons like BrahMos to southeast Asian countries like Vietnam & the Philippines. Now, searching for a new market for its weapons, India has now reached Egypt.
World’s lightest supersonic fighter jet Tejas to be manufactured in Egypt
According to a report published in The Economic Times, India has not only offered to supply its world’s lightest supersonic fighter jet Tejas to Egypt but has also offered to set up production facilities for the manufacturing of LCA and helicopters. The offer has been made in accordance with the Egyptian Air Force requirement of about 70 light combat fighter jets focusing on local production & technology transfer.
According to HAL, “Tejas is a single-engine, lightweight, highly agile, multi-role supersonic fighter. It has a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System (FCS) with associated advanced flight control laws. The aircraft with a delta wing is designed for ‘air combat’ and ‘offensive air support’ with ‘reconnaissance’ and ‘anti-ship’ as its secondary roles. Extensive use of advanced composites in the airframe gives a high strength to weight ratio, long fatigue life, and low radar signatures”.
Indian LCA Tejas is priced at around $42 million per unit and is the cheapest in this category of fighter jets. It will be very economical for Egypt considering the added technology transfer deals.
Also Read: Malaysia wants India’s Tejas LCA at any cost
The geopolitics and the business
India’s lucrative offer to Egypt has huge political as well as business meanings. Setting up production facilities of Tejas in Egypt is strategically very important. As the country is located at the top of the North African continent, it can cater to the region’s demand for affordable as well as state-of-the-art combat aircraft fighter jets. According to Economic Times report, “There is a significant demand in that region for such aircraft and Egypt will be a good base.”
North African countries like Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and Sudan are not capable of purchasing overpriced fighter jets & helicopters from American and European companies. But the growing conflict in the region is forcing the countries to strengthen their defence capabilities in order to maintain their sovereignty. So it becomes imperative for them to find alternate options which can cater to their weapons demand. Further, the setting of production line units in the region will also expand the horizon of the defence product export of India to not only North Africa but also to West Asian countries.
Egypt and India have agreements on information and communication technology, cyber security, cultural heritage, micro, and small enterprises, and vocational training. Despite the ban, India exported 18 Lakh tons of wheat to Egypt in the current food grain crisis. Moreover, Egypt is still emerging from the shadow of the Arab Spring and a number of security & economic challenges are in line to break the progress. With a stable democracy, growing economy, and development in science and technology, India can be the most reliable partner of Egypt.
As the world is marching into the 21st century, developed countries have become saturated with market expansion. On the other hand, African countries are steadily growing and providing big business opportunities. It is a well proven fact that the stability in a country is directly proportional to its development. So, they are searching for good defence weapons within their budget. Considering the demand of defence equipment, India wants to set up the local defence manufacturing plants. Further, the early market capturing of developing African countries will be an added advantage in exporting defence equipment for India.
So, it can be a win-win situation for both India and Egypt considering the geopolitical overhaul. On one hand, Egypt will get a reliable and stable democratic defence partner and on the other, India will be able to secure its defence market in the region. Tejas’ deal with Egypt will bring a new dawn in the Indian defence sector and will pave the way for India’s weapons export to the world. From the net importers, we can become the net export of defence equipment.
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