Light Combat Aircraft Programme – Free PDF Download


The News

  • According to HAL CMD R. Madhavan, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) expects to deliver all Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) variant to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2022 while the LCA MK-1A, with specific enhancements, will take flight by middle of 2022.

History of LCA-Tejas

  • The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Tejas was conceptualised in the year 1984.
  • Since the first flight of the LCA technology demonstrator in January 2001, the indigenous single engine 4.5 generation multi-role fighter jet christened as ‘Tejas’ by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in May 2003, has come a long way both in terms of the maturity of the platform as well as the overall aircraft development programme despite repeated delays and cost overuns.
  • After two decades of its first technology demonstrator filght, a deal was signed by HAL & GoI for deliver of 83 LCA Tejas aircrafts.

History of LCA-Tejas

  • The IAF had earlier signed two LCA contracts with HAL, for 20 Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) configuration aircraft on March 31, 2006 and for 20 final operation clearance (FOC) configuration aircraft on December 23, 2010.
  • Both the deliveries were delayed due to delays in the certification process.
  • LCA achieved Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) in December 2013 and FOC in February 2019.

History of LCA-Tejas

History of LCA-Tejas

  • The Defence Ministry’s ₹48,000 crore deal with HAL is to procure 83 LCA-Mk1A for IAF. This includes 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Mk-1 trainer aircraft.
  • The MK-1A will have over 40 modifications over the MK1 variant including some major ones like a new Electronic Warfare system, Advanced Electronically Scanning Array (AESA) radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles and network warfare system including Software Defined Radio (SDR).
  • Note: The LCA program aimed to replace the ageing Mig 21 fighter planes.

History of LCA Tejas

  • GoI had originally sanctioned ₹2,188 crore for Full Scale Engineering Development (FSED) in Phase-I to design and develop two Technology Demonstrators (TDs).
  • Later on in Phase II, ₹5,777.56 crore was allocated. The objectives of Phase-II was fabrication of three Prototype Vehicles (PVs), establishment of production facility at HAL for production of eight aircraft per year.
  • Overall project cost till date is about ₹11,096 crore for development of indigenous LCA and the Kaveri jet engine as informed by Govt in parliament in March 2020.
  • Note: The design is carried out by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) under the Department of Defence Research and Development & its is manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Kaveri Jet engine has been shelved.

What now?

  • CMD of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), R Madhavan said that, HAL expects to deliver all Final Operational Clearance (FOC) variant aircraft (LCA-MK1) to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2022 pending some systems from Israel, while the LCA-MK1A is expected to take flight in June this year.
  • There is another 20 to 24 months of testing after which deliveries would begin with manufacturing activities going parallel to the testing.

What now?

  • As per latest contract, HAL has to deliver the first three LCA Tejas MK1A aircraft to IAF in 2024 followed by 16 aircraft per year for the next five years.
  • As of now, the indigenous content in LCA is currently about 52% and HAL said it is looking at ways to increase it to 65%.
  • Also, the LCA-MK2, a larger aircraft with a more capable engine is expected to roll out by year end or early 2023. The LCA-MK2 brings significant capability enhancement to the LCA programme featuring new technologies, ability to carry heavy stand off weapons like Scalp, Crystal Maze and Spice-2000. It can also carry significantly higher payload, 6,500kg compared to 3,500kg by the LCA.

What next?

  • In addition to LCA MK1A & LCA Mk2, ambitious fifth generation fighter aircraft Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), and a new Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) to operate from the Navy’s aircraft carriers are being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
  • AMCA is envisaged as a 25 tonne aircraft with internal carriage of 1,500kg of payload and 5,500kg external payload with 6,500kg of internal fuel with the roll out planned in 2024.
  • TEDBF is being designed based on lessons learnt from the Naval LCA programme and the first flight is planned in 2026.




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