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SOURCE: ANI

With the government approving the development of a new variant of light combat aircraft, Indian Air Force Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Thursday said the LCA Mark 2 fighter aircraft will fill a critical capability void besides giving a tremendous boost to the indigenous design and development of country’s next-generation fighter aircraft.

Speaking to ANI, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said it’s essential that all stakeholders work in tandem to ensure the timely induction of the next-generation aircraft into IAF.

He said LCA Mark 2 fighter aircraft will further the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative in the domain of aircraft manufacturing.

“The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has approved the LCA Mark 2 fighter aircraft. This decision will give a tremendous boost to the indigenous design and development of our next-generation fighter aircraft. It will definitely further the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative in the domain of aircraft manufacturing,” he said.

“In the view of rapidly depleting strength of fighter squadrons of IAF and phasing out of the MiG 21 aircraft in coming years, it is essential that laid down timelines for the projects have to be strictly adhered to.

“Tejas Mark 2 will fill a critical capability void. Therefore, it’s essential that all stakeholders should need to work in tandem to ensure the timely induction of this aircraft into IAF,” he added.

Talking about the competition from global aircraft, the IAF chief said, “Going by the SQRs (Service Qualitative Requirements) and the assurances of the industry and the development agency, we expect that the product will be competitive with the best aircraft in the market at that time.”

Talking of other indigenous projects, IAF Chief said that they are likely to sign a contract for 70 Basic Trainer Aircraft, induct 10 Light Combat Helicopters next month and are in an advanced stage of going ahead with the Light Utility Helicopter.

“Basic Trainer Aircraft (HTT-40), we are likely to sign a contract in a short time now for 70 of these aircraft. We will also be inducting the Light Combat Helicopter, 10 of them into the IAF sometime nearly next month. We are also in the advanced stage of going ahead with the project for the light utility Helicopters. So, we have four major projects coming our way and it will be a tremendous boost to Make in India,” he said.

In a major boost to indigenous fighter aircraft development initiatives, the Cabinet Committee on Security on Wednesday cleared the development of LCA Mark 2 fighter aircraft which would be a replacement for the Mirage 2000, Jaguar and MiG-29 combat aircraft in the Indian Air Force (IAF).

“LCA Mark 2 fighter aircraft development project has been cleared by the government. This would pave the way for designers to develop an advanced 17.5-tonne single-engine aircraft. Development of new aircraft is to be completed by 2027,” Aeronautical Development Agency chief Girish Deodhare told ANI on the project.

He said the government has cleared the development of prototypes of which, the first is likely to roll out in a year and the project is scheduled to be completed by the year 2027 after extensive flying trials and other related work.

The DRDO feels that the aircraft would be in the category of the Rafale class aircraft in terms of avionics and capabilities but lighter in weight.

The government has also cleared that the engines to be used in the aircraft should be Made in India after the initial development phase.

The DRDO would be developing the aircraft with a GE-414 engine which is the advanced version of the GE-404s that power the existing LCAs in service and the 83 LCA Mark 1As which would start getting inducted into IAF in the next couple of years.

At present, 30 LCAs are in service with the IAF and two are being used by the HAL to develop the Mark 1As.

The AMCA aircraft development proposal is also with the government and is expected to be approved in near future but with a lot of Indigenisation inputs from the government.