Made in India Tejas fighter planes: IAF to place an order for 83 LCA Mk1A year-end

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August 17, 2020 5:05 PM

The carriage of Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles and ASRAAM missiles for long range as well as short range operations is planned in LCA Mk1A in addition to prevailing store configurations to increase offensive capability.

Once the deal is done, it will be a major boost not only to the order book of the HAL, but will give a huge boost to `Make in India’ initiative in the defence sector.Once the deal is done, it will be a major boost not only to the order book of the HAL, but will give a huge boost to `Make in India’ initiative in the defence sector. (File image)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is getting ready to finalise a deal with the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for procuring 83 the Mk1A version of the Light Combat Aircraft `Tejas’. “Most likely the deal which will be around Rs 38,000 crore, is expected to be inked in December. Though there is no confirmed date yet,” company sources told Financial Express Online,

Once the deal is done, it will be a major boost not only to the order book of the HAL, but will give a huge boost to `Make in India’ initiative in the defence sector.

Earlier this year, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had given its approval for the procurement of 83 LCA `Tejas’ and the next step is getting approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). “This is a critical step, as the deal has been getting delayed over price issues, as it was on the higher side. In the deal when it is firmed up there will be 10 twin seater which according to sources “is going to be used as the trainers by the IAF.”

Why does IAF need these aircraft?

As has been reported by Financial Express Online, this single engine, four and a half generation indigenous fighter will be replacing the MiG-21 Bison.

Game Changer ?

These indigenous fighters have been designed and developed by Aircraft Development Agency (ADA), DRDO, will be manufactured by HAL. These aircraft are expected to be the backbone of the IAF.

The all weather aircraft has as its primary role air superiority and ground attack. In its secondary role it has reconnaissance and anti-shipping strikes capability.

The Mk1A, according to sources in the HAL is an advanced version of LCA Mk1 (FOC) having four major capabilities over the current variant of LCA.

These indigenous fighters will come with the mid-air refuelling, with electronic warfare suites, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar capabilities.

This is Tail-less compound delta built with Advanced Composite Materials with reduced Weight, increased Life and reduced Signature. Equipped with Quadruplex Digital Fly by Wire, it is a Supersonic fighter at all altitudes for air combat. Best suited for offensive air support, it has the capability to carry a Payload of 3500 Kg and comes with a ceiling of 15 Km.

Also, LCA Mk1A will have inbuilt capability to fire BVR missiles such as Derby missile and is already integrated on current Tejas itself. Indigenously developed BVR missile (ASTRA Mk1) has been identified to be integrated on Mk1A, which will be a weapon of choice of IAF. This versatile weapon will give an edge to LCA Tejas over its contemporaries in BVR warfare.

The carriage of Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles and ASRAAM missiles for long range as well as short range operations is planned in LCA Mk1A in addition to prevailing store configurations to increase offensive capability.

Addition of Digital Moving Map with 2D maps & 3D perspective view, provision for GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System), Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) based positioning system and GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) SBAS (Satellite based augmentation system) features will enhance the operational capabilities and take India towards its home grown GPS system. These additional features shall provide more precision war fighting capabilities to LCA Tejas.

LCA Mk1A will have excellent manoeuvrability, unhindered by control and stability considerations, over the widest possible speed and CG range from + 8 to – 3 ‘g’

Indigenous Element

More than 60 per cent content on board this aircraft is indigenous and has a totally insulated supply chain.

Over 140 organizations are involved in design of LCA, and employed around 10,000 personnel.

As far as production is concerned – 100 per cent outsourcing, 70 Indian suppliers involved in outsourcing of the detail parts.

The Indian LRU suppliers contribute more than 100 systems, and employing close to around five thousand personnel.

Several improvements are planned for LCA Mk1A

AESA radar: This shall be electronically scanned agile beam radar which will be based on Transmit/Receive modules (TRM) and support multimode operation in X-band with a bandwidth of 600MHz or more. It will be having a capability to track 16 targets at a time in Air to Air, Air to ground and Air to sea modes.

Electronic warfare (EW) suite: With electronic counter measures (ECM) and ECCM with extended band of operation for threat detection and jamming capability, it will increase survivability in a networked environment. With the integration of an external jamming pod, it can perform as offensive air combat platform.

BVR Missile: Indigenously developed BVR missile ASTRA Mk1 will be integrated on Mk1A.

And is perhaps the only platform in the IAF wherein armaments from Russian or European origin can be integrated since the required software capabilities lies with India for this platform.

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