Air Force likely to get 123 LCA Tejas by 2024-25
NEW DELHI MARCH 19, 2017 20:36 IST
If the present development and capacity enhancement plans go as per schedule, the Indian Air Force will have 123 indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter jets in its fleet by 2024-25.
To enable this Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is in the process of setting up a new assembly line and is also involving the private sector in a big way, said the Chief Managing Director (CMD) of the public sector aerospace major T. Suvarna Raju in a conversation with The Hindu.
The IAF has placed orders for 40 jets in two batches of which the first 20 are in the Initial Operational Configuration (IOC) while the remaining 20 are in the Final Operational Configuration (FOC). Last July the IAF for operationalised the first Tejas squadron ‘45 flying daggers’ with three aircraft. Two more aircraft will join the squadron shortly.
Last November the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had given initial clearance for 83 aircraft in the Mk-1A configuration with specific improvements sought by the IAF.
Mr. Raju said that about 45 improvements have been implemented in the 1A and HAL has already floated a tender for the Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and Self-Protection Jammer (SPJ).
On the timeline for the development of the 1A, Mr. Raju said that the tender would be opened by March end after which technical evaluation and commercial negotiations would be held. “We will be able to prove it on the 1A by 2018 and start producing by 2019,” he observed.
Apart from the development, the induction is also delayed by the low production rate of eight aircraft per year. The government has recently given sanction for setting another assembly to increase production rate to 16 per year.
“The IAF will get Mk-1A in 2019 by that time our capacity will also go up to 16 aircraft per year,” Mr. Raju added.
To increase the production of the aircraft HAL has outsourced major parts of the jet. “We are trying to be an integrator rather than a manufacturer, he said.
The IAF is in urgent need of new fighters and the LCAs will replace the Mig fighters that are currently being phased out. IAF is scheduled to phase out all 11 squadrons of Mig-21 and Mig-27 fighters by 2024 on completion of their technical life.
On the issue of spares and supports which has been an area of constant concern from the services, Mr. Raju said they have now signed long term supply contracts with their vendors and stated that the availability of all platforms manufactured by HAL has now gone “above 65 percent.”
Original post thehindu.com
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Tejas fighter jet
The Indian Tejas (Radiance) is a lightweight multi-role fighter, developed by Aeronautical Development Agency and manufactured by HAL. The Tejas made its maiden flight in 2001 and limited production of this aircraft commenced in 2007. Development was finally completed in 2013. The Tejas is expected to enter service with the Indian Air Force and gradually replace the ageing fleet of MiG-21s, MiG-23s, MiG-27s, Jaguars and Mirage 2000s. However currently its production status is uncertain. The first Indian Air Force unit was equipped with two Tejas fighters in 2016. However it is unknown when this aircraft will achieve full operational capability.
The Light Combat Aircraft or LCA programme was launched back in 1983. It was intended to develop a completely indigenous fighter, which would replace the Soviet MiG-21. At that time the MiG-21 was a mainstay of the Indian Air Force. In 1984 the Aeronautical Development Agency was established to manage the LCA programme. The first technology demonstrator was completed in 1995, however it was grounded due to troubles with flight control system.
It is a delta wing design, powered by a single engine. Composite materials are widely used in the airframe to keep the weight down. These aircraft will be powered by General Electric F404-GE-IN20 as an interim powerplant, until the GTRE GTX-35VS Kaveri turbofan becomes available. Other engines might also be fitted. Both of these engines are fitted with afterburners. The Tejas is fitted with fly-by-wire control system and multi-mode radar.
The HAL Tejas multi-role fighter can carry a wide range of weapons, mainly of Russian origin. Aircraft is fitted with eight under-wing and under-fuselage hardpoints. Maximum capacity is over 4 000 kg of external ordnance and fuel. It can carry Astra, R-77 (AA-12 Adder) beyond visual range and R-73 (AA-11 Archer) short-range air-to-air missiles. Air-to-surface missiles include the Kh-59 with TV or laser guidance, Kh-35 or Kh-31 anti-ship missiles. Aircraft can also carry various bombs, including cluster or precision-guided. It is fitted with a single twin-barrel 23-mm cannon.
A two-seat conversion trainer is under development. It is reported that Indian Air Force has requirement for 200 single-seat fighters and 20 two-seat conversion trainers.
The Light Combat Aircraft (Naval) or LCA(N) is a naval version of the Tejas. It a two-seat naval aircraft made its first flight in 2012. A single seat naval multi-role fighter is currently under development. Indian Navy might order 40 of these aircraft to replace the Sea Harriers.
|Country of origin
|Dimensions and weight
|Weight (maximum take off)
|Engines and performance
||1 x General Electric F404-GE-IN20
|Traction (dry / with afterburning)
||53.9 / 85 kN
||1 990 – 2 376 km/h
||~ 16 km
||3 000 km
||1 x GSh-23 23-mm twin-barrel cannon (220 rounds)
||Astra, R-77 (AA-12 Adder), R-73 (AA-11 Archer) air-to-air missiles; Kh-59, Kh-35, Kh-31 air-to-surface missiles
||FAB-500T, OFAB-250-270, OFAB-100-120 free fall bombs; RBK-500 cluster bombs; KAB-1500L laser-guided bombs