Tuesday, December 15, 2009

India sanctioned budget for production of LCA Tejas for IAF & IN

In a major leg-up for one of the country’s most crucial indigenous defence initiatives, the Centre has sanctioned a massive Rs 8,000 crores to begin production of the fighter jet Tejas for the IAF and Indian Navy.

The lion’s share of this outlay, Rs 5,000 crores, will be for the manufacture of the jets for the IAF, while the rest will be for the development of a variant for the Navy, P.S. Subramanyam, director of the Aeronautical Development Agency which coordinates the Light Combat Aircraft programme, told this newspaper. "This is very good encouragement for a homegrown programme, but the challenge ahead is that we must deliver the jets on time. The first of these fighters will join the IAF’s fleet early 2011. The Air Force has ordered one squadron (20 fighters), and is in the process of ordering another squadron," he said.

Official sources said the IAF has committed to the purchase of 140 more jets, for seven squadrons, with more powerful engines. Next year, the LCA programme will cross another milestone with the maiden flight of the naval version. This variant will be designed to operate from aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and the Air Defence Ship.


How unfortunate.

Some fear that the long gestational period will likely make LCA's design obsolete by the time it is ready to enter full rate production.

Nice RDT&E experience for India's aerospace industry, though.

Having followed the LCA project from its inception, it appears likely that the LCA has not materialised into a viable option. It is apparent that HAL needs to be throughly 'churned through' and brought into the 21 Century. The LCA should be used as a platform for continued research and development for the next generation fighter, and the Indian Air Force and Navy should be free to induct non indigenious combat aircraft from Western sources to modernize its fleet.

Yeah, given the growing strength of PAF, i too would advice that IAF focus on quality [foreign] design and battle field management.

India must have gained much valuable technical know-hows through the LCA project. Focus on one or few areas of aircraft architecture and they will surely come in handy when current and future fleet needs upgrades. Mirage 2000 MLU, India-style, anyone?

When IAI Lavi was cancelled, everyone involving/supporting the project was very pissed off, to say the least. It turns out more or less being a blessing for Israel: it frees up human resource to focus on aircraft avionics, EW, sensor and missile technology and UAV/UCAV all of which the Israeli are really good at these days. India can possibly follow a similar approach toward niche excellence.

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