After the Indian Air Force was obliged to offer 28 concessions to HAL, the first batch of LCA Tejas was handed over to the IAF. It’s worth noting that pilots from the Pakistani Air Force and the Chinese Air Force are unlikely to make any concessions to IAF pilots flying Tejas in air combat with JF-17 or J-20 fighter jets.
- The current LCA variant in service with the IAF has yet to receive a Full Operational Clearance Certificate.
- The current LCA is powered by a US aircraft engine.
- The IAF has bought 83 LCA jets, which might be delivered by 2030.
- Since India does not create any Precision Guided Munition, smart weapons, or Air to Air Missiles, matching foreign armaments with the LCA platform will be an uphill task.
- In LCA, there is no such thing as an integral Electronic Counter Measure outfit.
- Even if the French contract is inked soon, India is unlikely to have an indigenous aircraft engine before 2030.
- As a result, the use of the LCA fleet will remain a question mark.
- Nobody knows if the naval variant of the LCA programme has been shelved or not.
LCA Tejas MK2 Status
The HAL hangar has yet to roll out the flyable LCA Mk2. Hall’s cosmetic deadlines, as usual, have already passed. It’s doubtful that the trend will shift.
It is unlikely that the first operationally viable LCA Mk2 will be available before 2036.
The operational specifications of the LCA Mk2 are currently unavailable, but if it were to match the adversaries’ flying machines in and around Indian skies, it must possess all of the capabilities of modern fighter jets, otherwise the Indian Air Force will lag behind the enemy air force on its border.
LCA Mk2 must have :
- A production rate of at least 18 aircraft per year is required for the LCA Mk2.
- If India develops indigenous weaponry by then, they should be available.
- With a full weapon load of 4 tonnes, the lo-lo-lo radius of action should be at least 500 km.
- An integrated ECM/ECCM suite capable of disarming AAMs from that era should be included.
- Mid-air refuelling capability compatible with AAR platforms with IAF should be available.
- Should have an indigenous AESA radar having search/track capability of at least 200/120 km.
- A appropriate Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM should be installed.
- Digital cockpit displays for pilots should be available.
- A Radar Warning Receiver should be built-in (RWR).
- A ‘Zero/Zero’ pilot escape system is required.
- FBW and FADEC systems are required.
- Should be capable of supersonic flight in the dry regime.