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Indian Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), continues to falter even after 25 years

By: RupeeNews

Heard the one about the Kevari and the Tejas.

  • Why is it so windy in Delhi? The failed Kevari engine sucks.
  • Whats that hicky doing on your neck. Oh! thats from the Tejas that sucks.
  • What can move faster than the LCA on the airport. A snail.
Tejas: The ultimate dudTejas: The ultimate dud

India’s indigenous Tejas is plane under perpetual development. This “plane” has had the longest development cycle of any train, plane or automobile in the history of world. After a decade of false starts, abject failures, the Tejas remains a but of jokes among the engineers, journalists and scientists in the aviation industry. Indian Airforce crying wolf? or facing shortage of jets?

Bharat’s LCA program had the following two objectives.

  1. The LCA programme was launched in 1983 for two primary purposes. The principal and most obvious goal was the development of a replacement aircraft for India’s ageing Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (NATO reporting name ‘Fishbed’) fighters. The MiG-21 has been the mainstay of the Indian Air Force since the 1970s, but the initial examples were nearly 20 years old by 1983. The “Long Term Re-Equipment Plan 1981″ noted that the MiG-21’s would be approaching the end of their service lives by the mid-1990s, and that by 1995 the IAF would lack 40% of the aircraft needed to fill its projected force structure requirements.[7] ((15 August 2006). Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). Global Security. Retrieved 25 August 2006.)
  2. The LCA programme’s other main objective was to serve as the vehicle for an across-the-board advancement of India’s domestic aerospace industry. Sukumar R. (March-April 2001). LCA: Impact on Indian Defense. Bharat Rakshak Monitor.

On both these counts, the Tejas has been a colossal failure. The Tejas has been unable to replace the “Flying Coffins” which are still flying and the Tejas has been unable to create a domestic aircraft industry. The recent tender for $10 Billion for planes is a testimonial to the abject failure of the Tejas.

The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program began in 1983 out of the rising need to replace the MiG-21s, which even then were becoming obsolete but still constituted the most numerous type of aircraft in the Indian Air Force’s inventory. By 1990, the design for a new plane was finalized, with the aircraft adopting a cranked delta wing and tailless configuration powered by a single turbofan engine.

Five years later the designated manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautical (HAL), unveiled two prototypes. However, because of difficulties with its flight-control system, the aircraft’s first test flight was delayed another five years, until January 2001. Since then, two more prototypes have been produced, with a naval variant currently undergoing development.

Yet more than two decades since its conception, the Tejas has yet to reach production status. Instead, it continues to perform endless flight tests. Difficulties with flight controls were eventually resolved, but its power plant, the indigenous Kaveri engine, continues to be plagued with technical difficulties, the worst of which was the collapse of the engine during high-altitude tests performed at a Russian base in 2004. Asia Times. Anyone want an obsolete Indian fighter? By David Nguyen

This above excepts was taken from an article written in the Asia Times two years ago. Nothing has changed. Unable to build aircraft, Delhi splurges on planes it can ill afford

The Times of India report personifies the incompetence, inefficiency of another Delhi dud. Most countries are able to design new planes in a abut four years. It has taken India 25 years, and it still doesn’t have a plane that flies. The Tejas was supposed to have replaced the Mig 21s, 20 years ago. After 25 years of development Delhi has nothing to show for it. Tejas 1983: A dismal failure which became obsolete in the design phase

Tejas is a tailless single-engine supersonic fighter with delta wings—shaped like a triangle—which uses fly-by-wire technology that enables pilots to control the plane electronically through on-board computers.

The plane is undergoing development trials with a GE 404 engine, but this falls short of the thrust it requires in operational conditions. Live Mint

The Tejas’s current GE F404-IN20 falls short of delivering the 20,000lb (90kN) output required to meet the operational requirements of the Indian air force. The service recently rejected a proposal under which a Western supplier would have helped complete the development of the Gas Turbine Research Establishment’s indigenous Kaveri. Flights Global

After two and a half decade, the Indian Air Force still hasn’t been able to decide on which engine the plane will run on. Attemps to modify Russian engines have failed miserable. Unmitigated failure: Indian Tejas scrapped. New Snecma plane?

NEW DELHI: India’s quest to develop its own multi-role supersonic fighter, the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), continues to falter even after 25 years. Its heart also needs a foreign transplant surgery now to function properly.

The defence ministry has asked two leading aeroengine manufacturers, General Electric (US) and Eurojet Turbo GmbH, to submit their bids within three months to supply 99 engines, with an option for 49 more, for the Mark-II version of Tejas.

With GE F-414 INS5 and EJ-200 being the engines in contention, eight will be bought off-the-shelf, while the other 91 will be manufactured in India under transfer of technology in an estimated $600 million contract.

This comes after the indigenous Kaveri engine failed to pass muster even after two decades of development at a cost of Rs 2,839 crore. While the first 20 Tejas will be powered by GE-404 engines, the next six Tejas Mark-II squadrons (16-18 jets in each) will have the new more powerful engines.

Sounding the death knell for Kaveri, IAF has shot down the offer of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to co-develop and co-produce the “90kN thrust class of upgraded Kaveri engine” with French company Snecma to meet Tejas’ operational requirements, defence minister A K Antony told Parliament on Monday.

DRDO contended the modified Kaveri engine would provide “comparable thrust throughout the flight envelope of Tejas”. Moreover, it would require minimum changes in airframe to integrate this engine without affecting the weight and configuration of the single-seater fighter.

“IAF, however, has suggested a proven engine that is already in production and flight-worthy for meeting immediate requirements. The RFP (request for proposal) has been issued to reputed engine manufacturers,” said Antony.

Now, once again, the Indian Defense Department is changing its mind and thinking of a new engine. Delhi is now ordering 99 new engines from General Electric. The problem with the GE F-414 engines is as it has always been. It is not compatiable with the Tejas structure. The GE F-414 engine will be trying to fly a plane which is 25 years old.

Another slight problem. All dressed up and no where to got. There are no suctomers for the Tejas which will begin flight test in 2012. IAF, incidentally, has ordered only 20 Tejas till now, apprehensive as it is of its capabilities since the fighter’s final operational clearance (FOC) will come only in December 2012 at the earliest.

Incidentally, the GE-414 and EJ-200 engines power the American F/A-18 and Eurofighter, respectively, two of the six jets in the race to bag IAF’s $10.4 billion project to acquire 126 “medium” multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA).

IAF, incidentally, has ordered only 20 Tejas till now, apprehensive as it is of its capabilities since the fighter’s final operational clearance (FOC) will come only in December 2012 at the earliest.

Antony declared that high-level reviews of the Tejas project were being conducted regularly by IAF chief and deputy chief to ensure it’s completed in time.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Aeronautical Development Agency and DRDO have, of course, faced a lot of flak for the huge delays.

Initiated as far back as 1983 at a cost of Rs 560 crore to replace ageing MiG-21s, the LCA project costs have now jumped to Rs 5,489 crore. The figure may well cross the Rs 10,000-crore mark by the time the fighter is fully ready.

IAF is certainly keeping its fingers crossed, grappling as it is with a depleting number of fighter squadrons, down to just 32 from a sanctioned strength of 39.5.

The force is banking upon the “air dominance” Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, with 230 of them being contracted from Russia in deals worth around $8.5 billion, to fulfil its need for “heavy-weight” fighters. The MMRCA will take care of the medium-weight category. Tejas, in turn, is slated to plug the light-weight fighter gap in the combat fleet. Times of India. ‘Indigenous’ Tejas fighter to get ‘foreign’ engines for power Rajat Pandit , TNN 4 August 2009, 04:00am IST. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Indigenous-Tejas-fighter-to-get-foreign-engines-for-power/articleshow/4853479.cms

Tejas, which in Sanskrit means radiance, first flew in January 2001. Since then, test pilots have flown nearly 1,150 sorties on seven Tejas jets. The aircraft needs to complete 400 more flights by 2010 for an initial operational clearance (IOC), the minimum standard set for the plane, said Subramanyam.

“Tejas is approaching IOC. It is (the) right time for (taking a) final call on the engine,” said Saxena, a former managing director of HAL’s Bangalore complex, where Tejas is being produced.

ADA is also designing a naval version and a twin-seater trainer version of Tejas, said Subramanyam. “The (Tejas) programme has a very good (defined) road map—up to 2018. Funds are coming,” he said. Live Mint

If India had been able to produce the Tejas there was no need to purchase the Gripen for which it has floated a tender for $10 Billion

When completed, the Tejas will be comparable to the Gripen in its capabilities. But the Gripen has been operating in Swedish squadrons for nearly a decade and has already seen a new upgraded variant, the Gripen-C, being produced. Similarly, another light combat aircraft, the F-16, has been in service for nearly three decades while offering similar capabilities and numerous upgraded variants.

The capabilities the Tejas offers do not provide anything new or significant over existing light fighters that have already been flying in foreign air forces for years. In short, it is already obsolete. Asia Times. Anyone want an obsolete Indian fighter? By David Nguyen

The original plan to indigenously build an engine by HAL and other companies ended is unmitigated failures.

The recent news stories on the Kaveri engine setback should prompt some introspection – Is the Tejas going the Marut way? Will it be rammed down the IAF’s throat by the Defense Research Establishment just as the Marut was nearly 40 years ago? Doing so may serve national pride but it will certainly not serve national defense.

Pressure is being brought on the IAF to commit in large numbers to the Tejas. What does the IAF really know about Tejas that will enthuse it to commit to it? The fact that it uses FBW technology? That is history…40 years old history. Besides, it is not FBW that combat pilot seek it is maneuverability that comes from it. Or better still the super maneuverability that comes from thrust vectoring and extremely high thrust to weight ratios. In addition our pilots need stealth. They do not want to be knocked out of the skies by BVR missiles that are now widely available. The Tejas has very little to offer in the areas of high thrust to weight ratios, thrust vectoring and stealth.

Clearly ADA has taken too long to develop the Tejas. A 20 years lead time to develop a fighter aircraft is unrealistic. I have seen attempts to refute this contention through suggestions that the F-22 Raptor too has not yet been inducted in large numbers by the USAF despite having taken to the skies over a decade back. However, such suggestions are misleading. Delay in the induction of the Raptor are due to the fact that the US Congress is not yet convinced that the threat that the Raptor is designed to address really exists. In the case of the IAF, the threat that the LCA was conceived to address existed right through the 80s and 90s. However, the LCA remained on the drawing boards and consequently the threat was never addressed. Five years from now, if the LCA is indeed available for induction, the type of threat that the IAF will face is not something that the Tejas was conceived to address.

  1. August 5, 2009 at 1:27 am

    Please make sure that a clear reference is placed in the article as to the authroship and the orogins of our articles that you publish.

    Please add http://www.pakhistorian.com
    http://wwww.pakistanledger.com to your blogroll


    Editor Rupee News

  2. bando
    May 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Remarkable comments and good for the future of India. It tooks 25 years for creating this shit LCA and it is also not a 4Th generation fighter. Thats great news. By the time Indian politicians will decide to purchase china will launch 6th generation fighters.Till now Indians dont have warships,fighter planes with latest technology,helicopters,tanks, latest equipments for the army like the chinese and US and they dont have anything bcos of this shit PM. Till now the battleship is supposed to come from Russia. Everything is delay bcos these F****kr politicians are busy filling their pockets. Alreay half of kashmir is f****ckd by pakis and chinese and Aruncahcl is also now Chinas intergral part. By the time this F***kr PM decides about all these half of India will go to fuck**r pakis and chinese.

  3. ananth krishna
    June 22, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    come on man, dt be so angry and pathetic. after all it takes time for every body to learn. in fact we can not compete with china miliatrily and even economically at the moment, they have more human and finanacial edge over us. if we start an arms race with them we are doomed to fail and our economy can take a serious hit. im dure u dont wanna see that happend. instead of wastuing our time and resources on unnecessary milititary spending, we should focus on reducing poverty and building our infrastructure. despite the fact that china spends almost 3 times more in their miliatry, they still have better infrstructure, GDP per capital, railays,health care, and even a higher standard of living than we do. we should wasting our limited capital and cash on building uncessary jet fighters. instead we shoyld focus on improving our livelihood for everry individual, it is only after doing so that we can earn respect from the world.

  1. February 15, 2010 at 12:31 pm
  2. February 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm

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