from the BS link -
The key battle-winning capability in the SoP-18 Tejas is “active electronically scanned array” (AESA) radar that Israel will develop jointly with India. This was the clincher that made the IAF agree to buy 100 SoP-18 fighters from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), in addition to the 20 Tejas Mark 1 already on order.
multiple factors played in IAF's decision IMO.
1. MOD(I) read the riot act.
2. cost/bankruptcy involved in Rafale acquisition which IAF had pinned it's hopes on.
3. IAF decision makers who had never flown LCA finally did
as a consquence of #1&2 and i am sure the deputy chief must have got the same impression as the TPs who equate it to an upgraded M2K. so the top heirarchy got the right feedback.
4. ofc the AESA is an added bonus.
5. knowing Rafale is not coming in numbers, LCA 1 was the only game in town which could come quick compared to negotiating, inducting a new aircraft - a good 10 years.
Karan M, i agree with you. HAL should have taken up the UTTAM even if it comes 3 years later. the fact is HAL has to supply the 20 IOC 2 standard LCAs first which itself might take 2 years. by the time FOC standard LCAs come on line possibly around 2018, possibly Uttam would be ready which is already in trials IIRC from your posts/sources. besides EL-2052 is not fieled by Isarel which puts a '?' on it.
again from the BS link regards Jags-
The decision stems from the IAF’s on-going plan to refurbish its 123-aircraft Jaguar fleet, upgrading those six squadrons of deep penetration strike aircraft to continue in service for another 15-20 years. This involves spending $2 billion (Rs 13,000 crore) on new, more powerful engines (the Honeywell F-125N has been chosen); upgrading 61 Jaguars with HAL’s vaunted DARIN-3 navigation-attack system, and arming the fleet with lethal, smart munitions like the Textron CBU-105 “sensor-fuzed bombs” that India bought from the United States in 2010.
IAF has again shot itself in the foot by delaying the engine upg of the Jags by putting all their bets on the Rafale. considering these machines are way better than the Mig 27s in terms of safety, reliability, a decision (may be 6/7 years back) would have been wise even if Rafale was coming in good numbers and possibly 1/2sq would have been available by now. while it is not bad even now considering the IAF strength, probably a handful of 2/3sq - the newest ones - may go this route IMHO.