SOURCE: VISHAL KARPE / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Indian Naval Chief speaking to the media made an interesting observation which was well known among all Defence enthusiast that LCA-Navy (MK1 Airframe ) in its current form does not meet the thrust-to-meet requirement to take off with full fuel and arms load from a aircraft carrier’s deck.
Fighter plane LCA-Navy (MK1) in its current form was never intended to be operational for aircraft carrier operations and it was Stretched LCA Tejas MK2 powered by high thrust GE’s F-414-GE-INS6 generating 98kN thrust was the plane which was to be developed for carrier operations .
LCA-Navy (MK1) in its current form was more of a technological demonstrator used to develop and test many components in landing gears and carrier recovery mechanism before LCA Tejas MK2 was developed . for Indian Navy it was always MK2 which was the real deal and IAF earlier was interested in the project just because they liked the idea of having LCA-Tejas with higher thrust engine but it soon lost interest when Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) came up with Upgraded LCA-Tejas MK-1A which bridged the technical gap between capabilities from LCA-Tejas MK-1 and MK-2 .
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha earlier this year backed HAL’s LCA-Tejas MK-1A Concept over MK-2 and refused to confirm if Indian Air force is still interested in MK-2 he answered back by saying that ” Air force will induct whichever LCA meets our requirements ” which left many doubters to believe that IAF is no longer interested in MK-2 but DRDO Chief after months of speculation confirmed that MK-2 is still ON and the first aircraft is likely to make flight debut by 2024 .
Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba not only rejected LCA Navy but also said that Navy will look for a new carrier-capable jet to its first indigenous aircraft carrier when it is inducted and completely left out on mentioning developing LCA Navy MK-II has planned earlier .
MK-2 was always a Navy Project which IAF was piggy riding on Navies requirements in quest for higher thrust engine but now the dynamics seems to have changed and IAF is not interested in MK-2 then developing 40-50 LCA Navy MK-II which now it seems even Indian Navy is not interested and it might be speculation but it looks like it is all curtains for DRDO’s MK-II Project.
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