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SOURCE:  SHIVA MUDGIL / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

India’s premier aerospace and defence company, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is working on LCA Mk1A is an improved version of LCA with enhanced capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Advanced Missiles, Advanced Electronic Warfare suite, New Mission & Avionics System and more maintenance friendly features, for which development activities are under progress but what Indian Air force wants might not be required by potential customers and to address this issue, HAL is planning to offer two or three customization package.

After interacting with many potential buyers, HAL has learned that many want lesser types of equipment then asked by IAF but it will be difficult to develop customized variants if the order is of small quantity but HAL will be offering plug and play systems which can be added or removed to lower costs so that tender is not lost due to price factor alone.

LCA Mk1 participated in Malaysia air show and was also evaluated by Royal Malaysian air force officials. Malaysians were impressed with Hybrid of Russian and Western technologies integrated into LCA Mk1 showcased to them but are also cost consequence due to their own budgetary woes and are looking for light attack aircraft with a lower price tag.

HAL feels proposed Supersonic Omni Role Trainer Aircraft (SPORT) which is based on LCA Trainer air-frame will be better equipped to compete with low-cost trainers which also double up as combat aircraft when required. KAI T-50 Golden Eagle is one prime example where a low-cost trainer was successfully adapted to be a light attack aircraft was also successfully export to 4 countries.HAL official i spoke told me current LCA Mk1 variant , LCA Mk1A and SPORT variant will be able to cater to different demands of customers and with more options, it will be able to better position their products so that LCA-Tejas can clinch some export orders.

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