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In 2021, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and New Space Research & Technologies signed an agreement “to explore cooperation for joint development and manufacturing of various products and systems in the area of unmanned systems, swarm technology and space systems.

One of the programs was to use old Kiran MK-II intermediate jet-powered trainer aircraft to convert it into CATS OMCA (optically-manned combat aircraft). Retired IAF captain Harsh Vardhan Thakur who is an experimental test pilot with HAL, in recent Twitter interaction, confirmed that Naval-LCA might also become OMCA like Kiran Mk-II.

HAL and Bengaluru-based New Space Research & Technologies have been collaborating with HAL officials to reimagine the Kiran MK-II as an unmanned combat vehicle. Naval-LCA already features a Hands-free take-off mode and further automation might help it to become its optically-manned combat configuration.

Turkey is already developing Bayraktar K?z?lelma, a jet-powered, low-observable, carrier-capable unmanned combat aerial vehicle and there seems to be demand for such unmanned combat aerial vehicles that are carrier-capable but it seems Naval-LCA will be a demonstrator for future unmanned combat aerial vehicle that Navy has in mind.

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