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Navy says no to Tejas variant

‘Jet does not meet requirements of the Indian Navy’

The indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas does not meet requirements, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said here on Friday. This effectively means the end of the road for the fighter’s Naval variant as the service is looking at the global market for its needs.

The Naval LCA made its maiden flight in April 2012 and two prototypes are currently undergoing flying as part of the development.

“The present LCA Navy does not meet the carrier capability which is required by the Navy. We will continue to support the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in their efforts to develop a carrier-based fighter aircraft. At the same time we will seek aircraft elsewhere which can operate on the aircraft carrier,” Admiral Lanba told the media.

The Navy currently operates Russian MiG-29K fighters from the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and which will also fly from the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant once it enters service.

A second IAC weighing 65,000 tonnes is currently in the design phase and the Navy Chief said that they would soon approach the government for approval. The Navy is looking for an alternative to the Mig-29.

Observing that the current weight of the Naval LCA with the underpowered engine does not allow it to fly from a carrier, Admiral Lanba said, “The Navy needs a carrier-based aircraft in the timeline of the induction of the aircraft carrier.” Navy officials said the twin-engine Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft which the DRDO is planning to build could be considered if it developed a naval variant.

Responding to the increasing Chinese Navy presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and engagement in Pakistan, Admiral Lanba said the Navy has a “fairly good idea on the deployment and movement” of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy forces in the region.

He said that China has deployed a nuclear attack submarine (SSN) in the IOR which recently did a port call at Karachi harbour. “As far as deployment of PLA Navy ships and submarines are concerned, we keep a close eye and monitor their movements,” the Admiral said.

‘Leak not critical’

Commenting on the data leak pertaining to Scorpene submarines, Admiral Lanba said that India and France will set up a joint committee once the Navy gets access to the initial French investigation report. “There is no critical leak. We will sit down and work with the DCNS [French naval contractor] as what needs to be done,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 10:06:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Navy-says-no-to-Tejas-variant/article16751699.ece

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