LCA Mk2 Can Carry 8 BVR Missiles, Integrate French And Russian Weapons
- The Indian Air Force's fighter squadrons are getting smaller, so the LCA Mk2 and the Indian-made Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) will be pitched as replacements for the Jaguars
- The government wants to speed up the rate at which the planes are made, and work is being done to narrow down the list of private production companies that can help with this.
A senior official from the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which is part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said that the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk2 can carry eight Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) missiles at once and can also integrate all indigenous weapons as well as a number of advanced weapons from other countries.
“There is no other single-engine plane in the world that can carry eight BVR missiles at the same time. “Its unique features will make it stand out among planes made by companies around the world, which will increase its export potential,” V Madhusudana Rao, the director of the LCA Mk2 project, told The Indian Express on the sidelines of Aero India 2023, which ended on February 17 in Bengaluru and was the country’s largest aviation show.
The official said that “BVR combat is the future, and we are ready for it.” The plane will be equipped with heavy standoff weapons like SCALP, which is an air-to-ground long-range deep strike missile. “When making this plane (LCA Mk 2), we thought about putting together advanced French and Russian weapons, weapons from other Western countries, and weapons made in India, like the ASTRA BVR air-to-air missile. “Unlike most other planes, the LCA Mk2 will be able to use weapons from different countries,” he said.
He said that the LCA Mk2 has a lot more technology than the LCA Tejas Mk1, such as a longer range. “The LCA Tejas Mk1 could fight a war for 57 minutes, but the LCA Tejas Mk2 can do it for 120 minutes.” The Mk2 will have 11 hardpoints, which are places on the plane’s frame that can hold weapons or other external loads. “The LCA Mk2 will be able to carry 6.5 tonnes of weapons,” he said. The LCA Mk2 will be powered by the General Electric GE-414 engine.
The senior official’s statement comes at a time when Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a government-owned company that makes aeroplanes, is in talks to sell LCA Tejas Mk-1A to several countries, including Malaysia, Argentina, Egypt, and Botswana.
Last week, C B Ananthakrishnan, the chairman and managing director of HAL, told the media that the company’s plan to sell 16 lighter fighter jets to Malaysia had taken a “slight setback” because Malaysia had chosen the Korean KAI FA-50 over the LCA.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) gave Rs 9,000 crore to build the LCA Mk2, a 4.5-generation fighter plane, in September of last year.
Rao said that there had been a delay in getting government funds out even though the plane’s critical design review was done and production had begun. He also said that the plane should be on the market by next year.
The Indian Air Force’s fighter squadrons are getting smaller, so the LCA Mk2 and the Indian-made Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) will be pitched as replacements for the Jaguars, MiG-29s, and Mirage 2000s when they start to retire in ten years.
“Our first priority is to meet the needs of the defence services,” he said, adding that 16 countries have shown interest in the fighter jet so far.
The government wants to speed up the rate at which the planes are made, and work is being done to narrow down the list of private production companies that can help with this.