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20-30 Tejas to be commissioned soon: Defence Minister

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A file photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): As many as 20-30 indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, which will replace the aging MiG fighters, will be commissioned soon, government informed the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working on the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas Programme, which has been running behind schedule.

During Question Hour, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said "20-30" Tejas aircraft are to be commissioned soon.

Once ready, Tejas would replace the aging MIG fighers.

Noting that concerns over Light Combat Aircraft would be taken into account, the Minister said negotiations are going on for the 126 Rafale fighter jets deal.

India and France have agreed to iron out issues like pricing and a guarantee clause for French firm Dassault to fast-track the estimated USD 15-billion deal for 126 Rafale fighter jets.

In 2012, India had selected Rafale jet but the final negotiations are still continuing between the ministry and Dassault Aviation.

To another question, Parrikar said MiG-21 is being phased out and MIG 29 are being procured from Russia.

With fifth generation stealth technology, the strikes would be high as it cannot be immediately detected by radar, he said.

To another query, Parrikar said no deal has been struck with Russia for procurement of fighter aircraft equipped with stealth technology.

However, an inter-governmental agreement has been signed with Russian Federation for design, development, production etc of a prospective Multi Role Fighter Aircraft," he said.

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