Tata Group to develop a Military aircraft for the country
The Tata Group has acquired the Intellectual Property Rights to develop a high-altitude, twin-engine aircraft. This will be the first time Tata Group will manufacture a full military-grade aircraft for the country. This aircraft will be an intelligence-gathering asset, integrated with indigenous sensors, modern systems, and payloads. Till now, only Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had the right to develop aircraft for defense purposes.
The aircraft will have an endurance of 6-7 hours with a range of 1800 nautical miles and will be able to fly at a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet. It will have a payload capacity of more than 1000 kgs. It will be extremely viable for a country like India, having multiple mountain ranges and international borders.
Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) has developed the Indian Defence Forces aircraft to meet their requirements. The company will set up a manufacturing plant in India for the serial production of aircraft. The aircraft will be able to gather signal intelligence as well as cover border surveillance operations. The model is currently under the testing stage in Germany and is expected to arrive in India after three months.
HAL clears the doubts of NAVAIR over procurement of LCA-Navy LIFT
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), in response to the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), has cleared its stand and answered the queries raised by the latter over the deal to replace Boeing T-45 Goshawk with a jet trainer. The proposal was made by HAL when it offered the Lead-in Fighter Trainer (LIFT) aircraft of LCA-Navy to the US Navy.
The US Navy had plans to procure 45 aircraft to train its new generation of fighter pilots from the aircraft carrier and raised the Request for Information (RFI) for it. However, USN will evaluate the offer for 45 aircraft for ‘Touch and Go’ movements. Boeing may upgrade its T-7A Red Hawk Advanced Trainer that is manufactured for the US Air Force. HAL demonstrated 18 take-offs and landing of the LCA-Navy Mk1 LIFT but couldn’t convince the USN.
As an upgrade to the LIFT-based Trainer aircraft, HAL is developing an NP-5 Trainer Jet to train the pilots of the Indian Navy, which currently uses HAWK 132 AJTs for training purposes.
Many countries in the race to offer Combat Aircraft to the IAF
Indian Air Force is in plans to acquire 114 Multirole Combat Fighter Aircrafts, which may cost over 1.3 Lakh Crores. IAF will focus on this deal after the deal of 83 LCA Tejas Mark 1A aircraft, which is set to be signed during this edition of the Aero India summit.
The Cabinet Committee on Security led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the way for the deal worth 50,000 crores to acquire the Tejas Mark 1A aircraft. These aircraft will replace the four squadrons of MiG-21 Fighter Jets, which will be out of service after some time.
The Request of Information (RFI) letter has been issued by the IAF and will soon move to the Ministry of Defence to acquire the Acceptance of Necessity (AON). This deal will help IAF acquire the 4.5th plus Generation combat aircraft in large quantity, thereby increasing its strength. Many manufacturers from the US, France, Russia, and Sweden have responded to the RFI.
US is keen to offer F-15 Strike Eagle, F-18 Super Hornet, and F-21, an upgraded variant of F-16 to the IAF. On the other hand, Russia has offered MiG-35 and a modern Sukhoi Fighter Jet. Saab, a Swedish Firm, is most likely to pitch its Gripen Fighter aircraft. France will stick to its offer of Rafale with slight modifications. Rafale is the strong contender among all these aircraft, as stated by the IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria.
Hal gives a sign of progress of Tejas Mark II, to be rolled out next year
R Madhavan, Chairman and Managing Director confirmed that the Tejas Mark II aircraft would roll out next year, with its high-speed trials expected to start in 2023. Its production may start by 2025. Tejas’s variant is equipped with a more powerful engine, next-generation electronic warfare system, and greater load-carrying capability.
The upgraded Tejas comes with a bigger fuselage, better maintainability, longer range, and an array of superior avionics. The structural package is in progress, and the weapon package will be decided at a later stage, depending on the requirement and dynamics. The deal to procure 73 such aircraft was signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) for 48,000 crores. Tejas provides offensive air support with reconnaissance and anti-ship operations.
The HAL Chief also gave signs of development of fifth-generation medium weight deep penetration fighter jets. HAL will develop the prototype of such aircraft by 2026, and production is expected to start by 2030.
Final Deal of Tejas Mk1A trainer and Fighter Jets to take place on 4th February
On 4th February, the final contract of 73 Tejas Mk1A and 10 Tejas Mk1 Trainer aircraft will be signed at the Arjan Hall in Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru. HAL Chief and MD R Madhavan, Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria, and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be present on this occasion.
The Aircraft Research and Development Centre (ARDC) is planning to use a thicker glass section for the canopy of Tejas Mk1A, which will be extracted from the frontal section of a retired LCA-PV1. ARDC is a subsidiary of HAL and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
These thicker glasses will give more protection to the aircraft in case of a bird hit. Its feasibility will be checked at higher speeds and higher G-forces. The Defence Minister will also open up the third production line of Tejas Mk1A. This new production line will have the facility to manufacture eight jets per year. It will develop 18 FOC Configurated Tejas Mk1 Trainer Aircrafts initially, and later will move to manufacture Single Seater Tejas Mk1A fighter jets from 2024.