Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.
New Delhi, 02 December 2016
Indian Navy literally writes off Tejas LCA Navy due to “too heavy an engine” and “low thrust to weight ratio” it generates while taking off with full load of weaponry from aircraft carrier”. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba said LCA Tejas Navy is not being able to meet the requirements of the Indian Navy. He said Indian Navy is looking for procuring an alternate aircraft.
“As far as the carrier-based aircraft is concerned, we need it in a time line of the induction of the aircraft carrier. We have the MiG 29K, which operates from Vikramaditya and will operate from (indigenous aircraft carrier) IAC Vikrant.
“We were also hoping to operate the LCA (Light Combat Aircraft-Tejas) from these two aircraft carriers”.
“Unfortunately, the LCA is not being able to meet the carrier’s required capability. That is why we need an alternative aircraft to operate from these two aircraft carriers,” Lanba said.
There are three aircraft on the Navy’s radar. Dassault Aviation is offering its Rafale M carrier borne fighter. Swedish defence major Saab has also offered to collaborate with India to develop to develop a naval version of its fighter aircraft Grippen with transfer of technology under PM Modi’s “Make In India”. A Senior Indian Navy officer hinted that F-18 is also a probable contender.
“If you look around the world, there are not too many options available and we need this carrier capable aircraft sooner than later. So, I am looking at next five-six years,” Chief of Naval Staff said.
Admiral Lanba addressing the press conference before Navy Day on December 04 assured that the navy is still encouraging India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop the Naval LCA.
Indian Navy has bought 45 Mig-29k for INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant. Navy needs at least two more squadrons for IAC-II INS Vishal. Defence experts say LCA Tejas Navy is a good trainer aircraft but can not be a fighter. A senior navy source informed your youtube channel National Defence that Indian Navy will boost efforts for Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) naval variant. However, given the pace of development, AMCA is not in sight at least in next decade or so.
Meanwhile Indian Navy’s hunt is on for alternate aircraft.