India has offered Egypt to set up production and manufacturing facilities for Tejas Mk1A Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), as well as helicopters, informed sources told Daily News Egypt. This comes as India pursues export opportunities in the MENA region.
The sources confirmed the reports in Indian media that a series of high-level engagements have taken place with Egypt.
They added that the Commander of the Egyptian Air Force is expected to visit India in a few days, where India will showcase its expertise in manufacturing and fleet maintenance. India’s Air Force Commander Marshal VR Chowdhury visited Egypt in November last year and attended the Air Force Symposium and Defense Exhibition in Cairo.
The sources, who are familiar with the current negotiations, revealed to Daily News Egypt that the Egyptian Air Force needs approximately 70 light combat aircraft, with a focus on local production and technology transfer.
Egypt currently operates a mixed fleet of American, French, and Russian aircraft, and has been keen to establish aviation manufacturing facilities.
Besides offering the Tejas Mk1A Light Aircraft (LCA) to Egypt, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has also introduced its range of helicopters such as the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Light Combat Helicopters (LCH).
According to India’s Economic Times website, Tejas Mk1A Light Aircraft is priced at around $42 million per unit, a price made possible after the Indian Air Force (IAF) placed an order for 83 Mk1A combat aircraft.
Reports have also indicated that India is the frontrunner for Malaysia’s requirements for light combat aircraft, with a comprehensive deal on the table including maintenance and spare parts for Russia’s Su-30 fighter jets.
Currently, a 57-member Indian Air Force Delegation Indian Air Force is participating in Tactical Leadership Programme at Egyptian Air Force Weapon School in Cairo west Airbase with three Su-30MKI aircraft, two C-17 aircraft and 57 IAF personnel including C-17 contingent.
The Programme which began on 24th June will continue up to 24th July. It is a unique exercise with Air assets in a Large Force Engagement environment, simulating various conflict scenarios. The exercise is aimed at enhancing defence cooperation between the two countries and exchange of best practices, Zawya reported.
India is transforming from a buyer to a seller in the global weapons industry, which is worth more than $1.8 trillion.
In the last five years, India was the largest arms importer in the world with the country buying 11% of the global share. But since 2017, India’s purchase of arms and ammunition has fallen by 21%, WION reported.
India is now moving towards local production with three countries including Egypt, Malaysia and Singapore showing keen interest in procuring its weapons.
The strategic move will help India supply its weapons in Northern Africa and West Asia, where several regional conflicts are taking place. (Daily News Egypt; Zawya; Economic Times; WION; File Photo: Indian Air Force’s LCA Tejas)