National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 21 December 2017
The IAF has already signed two contracts with HAL for 20 LCA in 2006 and another 20 in 2010. The purchase order for 83 LCA Mk 1A incorporates an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, advance long range Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, an integrated Electronic Warfare (EW) suite and Air-to-Air Refuelling system. The avionics would be updated to present day standards and there would be significant improvement in maintainability. These features are aimed towards better operational utilization that would make the LCA a potent platform for the IAF.
The IAF has fully supported the indigenous aircraft programme since its inception in all design and development activities. All flights of LCA have been undertaken by Test Pilots who have been trained by the Indian Air Force. An IAF Project Monitoring Team (PMT) has been closely associated with this programme at Aeronautical Development Agency to assist in expeditious design and development. The IAF has supported trials by providing resources, IAF has also fully supported development of other indigenous aircraft programmes viz LCA Mk2 and Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.
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.