SOURCE: AARAV SHARMA/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar in an article he wrote for ” SALUTE ” which is a Defence magazine covering Indian Armed forces, has said that ” LCA Mark II will replace the MiG 29 in the next ten years, the Jaguar in the next 15 years and the Mirage 2000 in the next 20 years. All combined, this adds up to a total of twelve squadrons.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B.S.Dhanoa in recent media interviews did say that six squadrons (108) aircraft of LCA Mk-II has been planned in immediate future, Nambiar’s twelve squadrons remark might have included fighter aircraft procurement in the long term which might involve future variants of LCA Mk-II aircraft.
Mig-29, Jaguar and Mirage-2000 fleet of aircraft at present make up close to 11 Squadrons and it will be difficult to assume that all three aircraft will be replaced by LCA Mk-II only.
Nambiar also said that ” LCA Mk-II will be centered on two crucial points. First, it has to be cutting edge, to the tune of its best electronic warfare capability and best weapons. As far as performance goes, we have pegged the performance to the level of the Mirage 2000, which is an aircraft already 35 years in our inventory. We are therefore not aiming for the moon, but for space at best. Therefore, our requirements have already been crystallised, our designers are at it, and given the fact that we have pitched ourselves at a level at which they are capable of generating and making, we will have an aircraft which will be in time in the next ten years or so. It will be the Mark II and will be a different breed of aircraft — probably bigger, probably more powerful and definitely capable of lifting much more load. We are envisaging an aircraft that can lift at least 6.5 tons of weapon load as compared to the LCA and LCA I which lifts about 3.8 tons.”
He also hoped that in the next 15 years, Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) prototypes will be in the air by then and heading towards production .