State Agency Busy, Private Industry To Build Composites For Production LCA Tejas
With series production of the Tejas MK-1 to begin shortly to service an order for 20 (+20) aircraft for the Indian Air Force’s inaugural LCA squadron, the Tata Group will, fortuitously enough, build the aircraft’s most complex composite parts, giving the production series of the aircraft a decidedly more substantial private sector component that originally planned. The decision to rope in Tata’s Advanced Materials Ltd (TAML) to build 20 sets of composites for the first 20 Tejas MK-1 jets was taken after India’s state-owned National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) first accepted the task, despite being a strictly design and development agency, and then said its hands were full (“oh and hey, we’re not a production agency“) with reviving the Saras (more on that later) and other civil airplane programmes. Tata will produce 13 major composite parts for each of the 20 Tejas MK-1 fighters. These include parts in the centre fuselage, undercarriage doors, fin and rudder.