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Naval LCA - News and Discussion

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Rishi Verma
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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Rishi Verma » 03 Dec 2016 20:12

vina wrote:
Rishi Verma wrote:With the amount of issues the Mig-29K is having, it may not be a flying coffin but a floating sinking coffin. I hope next Navy bird is either Rafale or an F/A-18 E/F used by navy from shore based and carrier based platforms. Perhaps IAF opting for the F/A-18L version. Totalling in quantity 1000+.

So fine. Buy the Rafale or the F A 18 EF. But pray WHICH carrier will the Navy fly those off ? Will it be Vikrant ? Will it be VikAd or both ? And if you do, will it they not face the "same problem" as LCA Navy Mk1 , which, can't take off with full load and fuel?


Last I checked a plane at hand can take off light weight but a plane that can't be manufactured doesn't exist and one that doesn't exist can't take off.

It must take a lot of gull to compare something that's been made, flown, bombed-with landed (F/A-18 SH) with a science project with no commitment to mass production dates in design or intention.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 03 Dec 2016 20:28

The only one currently operational non STOVL aircraft aircraft cleared for STOBAR operations is the Mig-29K in that weight class. Another option would be the Su-33 which is heavier and you'll face even more range/payload restrictions with it w/o a CAT.

With the Gripen, Rafale, or Super Hornet you'll have to enter into a program to certify them for STOBAR operations which is not going to be an easy (time wise) or cheap and what you get in return strictly form the perspective of range/payload may not be very different from the Mig-29K's although there would be advantages elsewhere.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby vina » 03 Dec 2016 21:51

brar_w wrote:The only one currently operational non STOVL aircraft aircraft cleared for STOBAR operations is the Mig-29K in that weight class. Another option would be the Su-33 which is heavier and you'll face even more range/payload restrictions with it w/o a CAT.

With the Gripen, Rafale, or Super Hornet you'll have to enter into a program to certify them for STOBAR operations which is not going to be an easy (time wise) or cheap and what you get in return strictly form the perspective of range/payload may not be very different from the Mig-29K's although there would be advantages elsewhere.


Exactly. So which OTHER plane can they possibly buy for the VikAd and Vikrant (leaving out the F35B for the moment)! NONE, unless they put cats in !

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 03 Dec 2016 21:53

I don't think they are going to put CAT's into either of the two carriers. Vishal most likely but that still leaves the 2 current carriers which would mean that they would need a fairly good reason to seek a third fighter type when there is already the Mig-29K they are using at the moment.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby vina » 03 Dec 2016 22:01

brar_w wrote: the Mig-29K they are using at the moment.

I think that is the reason. The Mig-29K is FUBAR ed

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby John » 03 Dec 2016 22:23

vina wrote:
brar_w wrote: the Mig-29K they are using at the moment.

I think that is the reason. The Mig-29K is FUBAR ed

Stop spreading garbage, Mig29k with exception of engine mtbo issue have performed quite well and navy has been with it. DDM has tendency to spread bs and if we had lost 3 ACs like French Navy within a year of service imagine what would have happened.

Back on topic IMO navy has no plans to procure another AC. This news is a simply a strategy to keep Russians overinflating the price tag for next batch of Mig29k. If we go in without any fallback Russians will jack up the price. Next order is for about 40 more ACs IIRC.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Cain Marko » 03 Dec 2016 23:34

I don't get this....why should it be surprising that current lca is not good enough for navy needs. This was obvious years ago. But the nlca was no more than prep for the mk2, which was foremost a navy requirement.

This could unfortunately mean that the mk2 is now history and with it, nlca. No wonder the 414 engines have not been seen anywhere near a tejas.

In terms of a fulcrum replacement, I don't see why shornet with 414 epe or rafale won't do better on stobar setup? Yes, they might not be able to carry their full 8-9.5 ton load, but even if they carry 1 ton less, as does the naval fulcrum compared to the M or 35, that is still a LOT more than the fulcrum, which can carry only 5.5 tons mtow. If raffle or shornet can manage only 7.5 tons, it is still a LOT more. Don't forget both these birds also have a better twr than the mig-29k.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 03 Dec 2016 23:53

In terms of a fulcrum replacement, I don't see why shornet with 414 epe or rafale won't do better on stobar setup?


There is no EPE equipped F-18E/F and it will be a while before one even exists. The F-18E/F is not qualified for STOBAR operations and there is no indication that there is any scope of that changing unless someone ponies up the cash to get it done. The Mig-29K is actually qualified, and is operational with the IN. So what exactly is the reason to look for another fighter? This is something the IN would naturally have to answer if and when they get serious about bringing a new type into the fleet. Is it because they are dissatisfied with their current MigGs, believe that the current MiG's are incapable of meeting future requirements, or do they believe they need to hedge with a western fighter?

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Cain Marko » 04 Dec 2016 00:04

^ the indian navy has been talking of a next gen fighter for years now. This is not new. What is seemingly new is that they are giving this search more impetus by pointing to the shortcomings of nlca.

I could be mistaken but shornet with epe has been tested and offered on the international version?

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 04 Dec 2016 00:15

No. EPE design has been validated and tested in a lab setting but never actually put into a full up flight test engine. Its at minimum a 3-5 year program with around a $800 Million or so cost to get it done from what I remember from the mid 2000's when the last US Navy funding to validate some of the changes expired.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Rishi Verma » 04 Dec 2016 00:43

Cain Marko wrote:^ the indian navy has been talking of a next gen fighter for years now. This is not new. What is seemingly new is that they are giving this search more impetus by pointing to the shortcomings of nlca.

I could be mistaken but shornet with epe has been tested and offered on the international version?


Navy is not just pointing to the shortcomings but, more importantly, saying that N-LCA is a no-show. It (a plane ready for mass production) never existed and as per the navy chief will not exist. The ramp takeoff videos can be deleted now to make space on the hard disk.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Cain Marko » 04 Dec 2016 04:45

^ I look upon the points you make as "shortcomings". Sorry if this was not clear.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 04 Dec 2016 08:36

DRDO to salvage home-grown aircraft dumped by Indian Navy
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/drdo-light-combat-aircraft-indian-navy-defense-manohar-parrikar/1/826336.html

Despite the Navy junking the aircraft carrier version of the home-grown Light Combat Aircraft, the DRDO would continue working on the plane to develop it into a naval variant of the indigenous fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 04 Dec 2016 08:39

Why the Indian Navy Is Unhappy With Its Carrier-Based Light Combat Aircraft Project
http://thediplomat.com/2016/12/has-the-indian-navy-canceled-its-carrier-based-light-combat-aircraft-project/

The Navy’s real problem is that it believes that the LCA is a largely air force-centric program that isn’t essentially geared to meet aircraft carrier-operations. At many points during its evolution, naval managers are said to have emphasized the need for aircraft systems to be reconfigured to meet the requirements of carrier take-off and landing, but the ADA never reportedly made a serious attempt to undertake the necessary modifications.


Misgivings about the LCA program, however, go beyond the perceived disregard for specific functionality. In an article in July this year, Admiral Arun Prakash (retd.), a former chief of naval staff, outlined three reasons why the military leadership was apprehensive about the project. Firstly, Prakash pointed out that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the huge public sector firm manufacturing the LCA, is a monolithic, indolent giant with a work ethos that “struck dread in the hearts of air-warriors.” The company’s unionized employees were a cause for low productivity and poor production engineering standards that created many maintenance and inter-changeability problems on aircraft. Secondly, there was a high failure rate of HAL manufactured components and systems that didn’t inspire confidence among military aviation managers. And lastly, Prakash pointed to the suboptimal production support, which often left “HAL customers high and dry.”

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 04 Dec 2016 08:42

This is the article the above link (in the second quote) is referring to...

HAL must be modernised if Tejas is to be saved
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/53092978.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby sivab » 04 Dec 2016 09:32

https://www.myind.net/navy-has-not-aban ... -statement

Navy has not abandoned LCA, Media misconstrued Navy Chief's Statement

Vijainder K Thakur


Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba told the media on December 2, 2016 that the Indian Navy is scouting for another carrier operations compatible fighter besides the MiG-29, since LCA Navy lacks the payload required to be effective when operating from a carrier.

“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.

"In the present form, the LCA cannot take off with its full weapon load," the Navy Chief added.


With its proclivity to sensationalize, the Indian mainstream media projected the Chief's statement to imply that the Navy has ditched the LCA Navy project. Taking a cue, social media took the disinformation to puerile heights, alluding subversion of indigenous defense R&D by the military leadership of the country.

I feel there is an urgent need to put the Navy Chief's statement in the correct perspective. The Navy Chief did not say LCA Navy development is being abandoned.

The Navy's decision to procure a second carrier compatible fighter other than LCA Navy is prompted by the mismatch in the development of LCA Navy and the projected commissioning of IAC-1 (INS Vikrant) around 2023.

LCA Navy History

The Indian Government sanctioned Full Scale Engineering Development (FSED) of Naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA-Navy), capable of operating from an aircraft carrier, on March 28, 2003 with a PDC of March 27, 2010.

Subsequently, as a result of the failure of the Kaveri project and a weight spiral LCA performance fell below expectations. In 2008, the IAF, the MoD and the ADA agreed that LCA does not meet critical IAF QRs - Power to Weight Ratio, Sustained Turn Rate and Maximum speeds at low altitudes. The performance shortfalls would be addressed by developing a follow-up LCA variant fitted with the more powerful GE F414 engine. LCA Mk2 was sanctioned in November 2009 with PDC of December 2018.

With LCA Mk1 falling short on critical IAF QRs, LCA Navy, which would be much heavier on account of its strengthened undercarriage, had no chance of meeting the Navy's more stringent QRs for deck operations. It was evident that LCA Navy would have to be based on LCA Mk2.

However, since LCA Mk1 & Mk2 would be similar in design, in order to save time it was decided to start developing LCA Navy technologies using LCA Mk1 as testbed.

The LCA Navy project was recast as a two phased development program. In Phase 1, ADA would use prototypes built in LCA Mk1 configuration (powered by GE-F-404-IN20 with a max thrust of 17,700 lbs.) to develop arrested landing and ski jump take-off technology. In Phase 2, ADA would use prototype aircraft built in the Tejas Mk2 configuration (powered by GE-414-INS6 engine with a max thrust of 22,000 lbs.) to certify LCA Navy for carrier operations.


Navy Hedges its Bet on LCA Navy

The recasting of LCA Navy program notwithstanding, IN decided to hedge its bet on the successful development of the aircraft, in order to ensure that its current and future aircraft carriers embarked lethal fighters. In November 2009, the Navy prudently issued an RFI (request for information) to several global aviation majors, including American Boeing, French Dassault and Russian MiG companies, for ‘an alternate deck-based aircraft.’
LCA Navy Development Delays

A Navy fighter has to be designed and built for carrier operation from the ground up, not as an afterthought, as is the case with LCA Navy. When the LCA project was initially sanctioned, the aircraft was not conceived to be a Navy fighter.

Strengthening the LCA for carrier operations proved to be a nightmare for ADA. Embarked aircraft are required to perform flare less landings with a high sink rate of 7.1 rn/sec. To meet the requirement, LCA Navy undercarriage became grotesquely over-sized. Part of the problem was the positioning of the undercarriage in the fuselage. Aircraft designed for carrier operations generally have the undercarriage in their wing roots.

(Compare the u/c of LCA Navy Mk-1 above with that of the Tejas LCA below. The former looks oversized, the latter, elegant.)



Tejas LCA at Aero India 2015

The strengthened u/c added weight and lowered the aircraft's performance much more than initially expected.

The LCA Navy would have to embark on INS Vikrant (IAC-1) much before its scheduled commissioning in 2023.

LCA Navy, in its present form, cannot be operationally deployed on INS Vikrant - it's very limited weapon load, range and performance wouldn't justify such deployment. This is what the Navy Chief said!

LCA Navy Not Abandoned

At Aero India 2015, the author asked the then LCA Navy Project Director Commodore CD Balaji (He is now ADA chief) if LCA Navy in its present form could operationally be deployed on a carrier, were the LCA Navy Mk-2 project to be delayed.

"LCA Navy Mk-2 will not be delayed," said Balaji with a lot of confidence. "We are close to freezing its design, which has been simplified. The new design would be easy to implement."

Commodore Balaji's confidence was eye-opening - The biggest pay-off from the LCA Navy project may well be ADA's increasing confidence in its ability to tweak fighter aircraft design to squeeze out better performance. This is evident from the following:

LCA Navy Mk-2 has been designed from the ground up as a Navy fighter, independently of Tejas LCA Mk-2.

The fuselage of the aircraft has been broadened and the wing roots moved outwards. As a result, aircraft design has been optimized for supersonic flight with perfect conformance to area rule. (Tejas LCA and LCA Navy Mk-1 do not conform perfectly to area ruling resulting in high supersonic drag.)

Mid-section fuselage broadening allows undercarriage bays to be shifted outwards, allowing a simpler, straight and light undercarriage as in the Rafale.

Mid-section fuselage broadening also increases fuel capacity.

That is three birds with one stone!

The following design layout of LCA Mk-2 from a brochure distributed during Aero India 2015 clarifies what I have stated above about the design tweaks.

Conclusion

What the Navy Chief said on December 2, 2016 did not signal a change in plans. He merely reiterated what the Navy had planned since the sanctioning of the LCA Navy project. If the LCA Navy is not ready on time, the Navy will seek a second carrier based fighter from the global market.

The Navy will continue to support development of LCA Navy. With a former naval officer helming ADA, it wouldn't expect it to be otherwise.

It's unusual for a Navy to have two types of carrier based aircraft, except when one is being phased out on account of obsolescence. It is possible that the Navy's quest for a second carrier fighter stems from shortcomings with MiG-29K operations. It could also be a way of pressurizing Russia to come good with its support for the aircraft.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Austin » 04 Dec 2016 10:47

Navy should take N-LCA even if it can take off with 1.5-2 T load from Aircraft carrier ( the airforce variant can take with max 3.5T ).

Even with 2 T payload it can carry all the A2A missile or a combination of A2A missile and Antiship missile like Harpooon/Kh-35U

Even if IN accepts 12 aircraft of Naval Tejas , it will give the ADA designer to work out pre and post production deployment issue , maintenance routine , effect on aircraft operating on salty humid sea environment , these are experiences and fixes that can only happen once Tejas enters navy.

Dumping Tejas altogether means we go no where from here , What is the gurantee that Navy wont dump AMCA in future as well and where is ADA suppose to get the experience for AMCA if Navy ends up dumping tejas now.

Its a Chicken and Egg situation and every nation goes through this before they improvise on product and that can itself be multi decade work

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby ashishvikas » 04 Dec 2016 13:04

Saurav Jha ask an interesting question.

25% of the Rs 1259 crore to be spent on ramping up LCA production no.s from 8 to 16 per annum was supposed to come from the Navy. What now?

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 04 Dec 2016 13:05

Tejas warrior: pls change ur username

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Rishi Verma » 04 Dec 2016 13:56

I am quiet certain that first the airforce then the navy got tired of DRDO/HAL/NAL phraseology that "it's a pilots aircraft", "it's a pleasure to fly", "it does a bharatha-natyam" in air,

And the fighter pilots must have asked "can it kill pakis"?, "can u give me 100 planes in 5-years? ", "can it survive 29% wing-damage?"

And the answer would have been "Umm but Saar, the software is indigenous, the unstable design for great maneuvers"...

Basically singing praises of software while hardly a word for hardware (manufacturing, servicing, survivability, indegenizing radome, radar, engine) is not going to convince a buyer... that's exactly what happened.

The guys in the science project need to be told "design a damn plane to kill pakis", the current babus at drdo / hal never portray it as a killing machine, "it's a pilot's aircraft" phraseology is better suited for a manure-spraying biplane for farmers.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Austin » 04 Dec 2016 15:30

Rishi Verma wrote:Basically singing praises of software while hardly a word for hardware (manufacturing, servicing, survivability, indegenizing radome, radar, engine) is not going to convince a buyer... that's exactly what happened.


These things can only be found out once LCA enters Squadron Service , You can make some estimates on hardware , servicibility etc but you still have to prove it out , Proving means running through its paces day in and out for 4-5 years to get a fair idea what the shortcomings are and how these can be fixed either in current form or next iterations.

IAF/IN behaves as if ADA/HAL are designing their 90'th aircraft with a century of experience in designing and production of fighter aircraft and Tejas is their 91st project and every thing has to meet their ASR standard to the Dots and I's

They will have to accept the fact that this is the first project and even meeting 60 % of ASR standards would mean the next project or next iteration could meet 70-80 % of ASR ..... They have to accept failures even if it does not meet those ASR/NSR standards till such time it does .....they have to nurture the Design Bureau , Industry , HAL and other entities besides their own internal MRO Training and other department to make it into success.

At the rate IAF/IN are noose fixed on meeting ASR they would never get an Indian Designed and Built Aircraft even 50 years from now.

They would be happy to keep looking aorund and importing the best out there.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Neshant » 04 Dec 2016 15:34

sivab wrote: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.



Once they buy foreign planes, what room will there be to induct Navy-LCA?

Unlike the air force, the carrier's deck cannot be expanded to accommodate more planes.

With the puchase of foreign planess, the Navy-LCA becomes redundant and YET another indigenous project is Arjun-ized.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Austin » 04 Dec 2016 15:47

^^ Indeed Even if the IN Chief was OK to look for another fighter in next 5 years , Instead of Dumping Tejas because it does not meet some Naval Staff Requirement , He should have said even though Tejas does not meet the requirement , I would still buy 12-24 Naval Tejas so that the short coming could be rectified and the R&D and Production agencies get the expereince of developing improving and Navy giving them the feedback to improve it . This would help these agencies to understand the short fall fix it and prepare ground for a Naval AMCA so that it does not end up making the same mistake as Naval Tejas did because it did not had the chance to fix its problem.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby sankum » 04 Dec 2016 17:40

If IN ditches NLCA mk2 it can still go for 18-24nos NLCA mk1 as lift trainers.

In long run NFGFA and NAMCA can be options and short term naval Rafale will be the best.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby A Deshmukh » 05 Dec 2016 13:16

NLCA may not be able to take off with full load and fuel for AC operations.
But for taking care of TSP and near shore operations upto ANC/Maldives/SriLanka, can a full load NLCA take off from shore based airfields and refuelled in the air. and team up with other Naval assets.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Indranil » 05 Dec 2016 23:48

And so the rona-dhona continues.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Khalsa » 06 Dec 2016 00:47

So now that the Rona Dhona is in full swing can I momentarily put on my conspiratorial hat, please.

Airforce Angle
IAF does not want F-16
F-18 sounds damn good with the AMCA hidden lollipop in there.
Free Factory toooooo you know ..... Free

Navy Angle
We want EMAL launcher for Vishaal.
We want possible Nuclear Propulsion for Vishaal.
Only way you are getting the EMALS is with US made fighters being launched.
Damned if they let a Made in US EMALS launch Comrade Ivan's Mig-29 K.

So bring Navy onboard and bring further economies of scale by combining the customer number of IAF and IN that are satisfied by the F-18 Super Hornet Factory.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 06 Dec 2016 00:57

Your conspiracy theory will likely turn out to be true.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby SaiK » 06 Dec 2016 00:59

Please allow me Rakesh saar to quote the complete article
Rakesh wrote:Why the Indian Navy Is Unhappy With Its Carrier-Based Light Combat Aircraft Project
http://thediplomat.com/2016/12/has-the-indian-navy-canceled-its-carrier-based-light-combat-aircraft-project/


Why the Indian Navy Is Unhappy With Its Carrier-Based Light Combat Aircraft Project
India’s chief of naval staff reiterates reservations about the Tejas’ suitability for carrier operations.

By Abhijit Singh
December 03, 2016

Ahead of Navy Day celebrations on December 4, Admiral Sunil Lanba, India’s chief of naval staff (CNS), caused a minor flutter in the media by suggesting that the Navy was doing a rethink on the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project, India’s premier light fighter jet program. At a press conference, Lanba remarked that the navy was looking for a temporary replacement jet from a source abroad for carrier-operations as the LCA (Navy) wasn’t “yet up to the mark.” Even though the navy chief did not go as far as to suggest the project was being scrapped, he was categorical about the navy’s dissatisfaction with the naval variants under production.

Lanba’s admission is likely to have placed many officials in the Ministry of Defense (MoD), as well as the Defense Research and Development Organization, in a spot of bother. After a slow start in the early 1980s, the LCA struggled for over three decades before showing progress in the past few years. Having obtained operational clearance in 2013, the aircraft has now been officially integrated into the Indian Air Force. Oddly, the naval chief’s statement came only a day after the ministry cleared an order for 83 LCA Mk 1As from the government-owned defense manufacture Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) for the IAF.

This isn’t, of course, the first time that a naval chief has publicly expressed reservations about the LCA program. In 2012, Admiral Nirmal Verma, then CNS, in an interaction with the media chided the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) for frequent cost and time overruns in the development of the naval version of the aircraft. The Navy, he suggested, was beginning to lose faith in the project.

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Now, as then, the problem with the LCA remains the same: its inability to take off with its full weapon load from a carrier top. Naval sources point out that since 2013, the LCA has consistently failed the test of flight from a 200-meter deck with full weapons load. In a series of trial sorties at a Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) in May this year, ADA officials claimed that the aircraft had made the cut by successfully ascending from a short deck with two R-73 close combat missiles. But naval managers clearly weren’t impressed.

The Navy’s real problem is that it believes that the LCA is a largely air force-centric program that isn’t essentially geared to meet aircraft carrier-operations. At many points during its evolution, naval managers are said to have emphasized the need for aircraft systems to be reconfigured to meet the requirements of carrier take-off and landing, but the ADA never reportedly made a serious attempt to undertake the necessary modifications.

Naval aeronautical engineers believe that the LCA’s naval variant is slightly but “significantly” different from its air force version, not least on account of a major modification needed in the aircraft’s landing gear that enables arrested landings on a carrier deck. Unfortunately for the Indian Navy, the ADA hasn’t ever fully committed itself to developing a modified undercarriage. As a consequence, the suspicion of an institutional indifference toward the Navy’s specific needs of carrier operations has only grown stronger.

Another concern has been the lack of a reliable air-to-air refueling system. Despite renewed efforts, the complex integration of the aerial refueling probe on to the Tejas fighter hasn’t been properly accomplished. The absence of reliable “hot-refueling” implies a restriction in aircraft mission ranges, which maritime managers have been unwilling to accept.

Why, however, must the Indian Navy be fussy about an aircraft that is only meant to supplement the Mig-29K? Aircraft carrier experts say middle and light category aircraft have different peacetime roles profiles. Given India’s geostrategic interests in the Indian Ocean region, it is important for the Navy to project both hard and soft naval power. High-end combat aircraft like the Mig-29K are meant to exert hard military influence by signaling coercive intent. Equally important, however, is the need for a carrier-borne aircraft to showcase the Indian Navy’s prowess as reliable security agent in the littorals. Indigenous medium-capability assets help in creating a circle of trust, owing to their utility in joint multinational operations. With a leading role in regional forums such as the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and Milan, the Indian Navy has come to be known as a friendly maritime agency. Its low-end light combat aircraft aids in the cultivation of a benevolent image. In addition, the aircraft’s export to friendly countries would help in the forging of strong working-level partnerships.

Misgivings about the LCA program, however, go beyond the perceived disregard for specific functionality. In an article in July this year, Admiral Arun Prakash (retd.), a former chief of naval staff, outlined three reasons why the military leadership was apprehensive about the project. Firstly, Prakash pointed out that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the huge public sector firm manufacturing the LCA, is a monolithic, indolent giant with a work ethos that “struck dread in the hearts of air-warriors.” The company’s unionized employees were a cause for low productivity and poor production engineering standards that created many maintenance and inter-changeability problems on aircraft. Secondly, there was a high failure rate of HAL manufactured components and systems that didn’t inspire confidence among military aviation managers. And lastly, Prakash pointed to the suboptimal production support, which often left “HAL customers high and dry.”

Scrapping the LCA (Navy) program, however, will not be without consequences. For one, the Indian Navy will need to start afresh in the search for a foreign source for a new light combat aircraft. Given the stringent provisions of the Defense Procurement Procedures (DPP), especially the need for a domestic manufacturer, this implies a substantial delay in the project. Besides, having invested considerable funds in the LCA program since 2009, the Indian Navy will need to explain losses, as well as the wisdom of investing in a new project. Not only will it push back delivery of the platforms by a few years, the work-load on the Mig-29K will dramatically increase with involvement in both low-end and high-end missions.

For the moment, the critics of the LCA program will feel vindicated. At least until the Indian Navy clarifies that its chief’s statement is being misinterpreted.

Abhijit Singh is a Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Fellow in New Delhi.

SaiK
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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby SaiK » 06 Dec 2016 01:01

I think DRDO, HAL, ADA and other labs sit tight, give themselves a kick under their rares, and listen to Navy's requirements.

It is time folks

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 06 Dec 2016 01:04

SaiK Saar: Do you mean rear? :) Reminds of that lewd joke told in naval circles.

Q. What is the Vice of the Vice Admiral?
A. The Rear of the Rear Admiral

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby SaiK » 08 Dec 2016 00:01

:)

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 09 Dec 2016 12:55

Damned if they let a Made in US EMALS launch Comrade Ivan's Mig-29 K.


Can the K be cat launched? I very much doubt it is designed for the cat. But, ......

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Kartik » 10 Dec 2016 03:29

Cross-posting from the LCA thread

Naval version of indigenous LCA will meet operational requirements- ADA Chief

New Delhi: A more powerful engine, albeit imported, will enable the Mark-2 naval version of the indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) meet the requirements of the Indian Navy, its developer says, even as the navy chief has said that the Mark-1 version has not delivered.
"I would think that it is the Indian Navy's prerogative on their operational needs. We are trying to develop an indigenous carrier-borne aircraft from scratch and it is certainly a challenging proposition," Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) Director C.D. Balaji said, responding to a recent statement by the navy chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba.

Speaking about the upgraded version of the aircraft, he said: "A new programme with a higher thrust engine was sanctioned and termed LCA Navy Mk2. This programme is envisaged to minimise the constraints of Navy LCA Mk-1.
As for the new power plant, Balaji said: "The GE 414 engine has adequate thrust for a heavier take-off and this would permit the mission performance to be met as indicated at the time of sanctioning the Navy LCA Navy Mk-2 (in 2009)."
The GE F 404 powers the Mk-1 version.

"It is expected that the first prototype would commence flight testing by end 2020. The second prototype is expected a year later. It is expected that flight-testing would take about four years," Balaji said, adding: "It is expected that Mk-2 can be available from 2024-25 onwards."

As part of its development, a dedicated Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) has been set up to replicate to a large extent a short take-off but with arrested recovery (STOBAR) carrier.

India's sole aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, has this capability, as does the first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC), INS Vikrant, now under construction at the Cochin Shipyard. The next generation IAC, INS Vishal, is also likely to have this capability or the even more advanced EMALS (electromagnetic aircraft launch system).

"The next big proving capability is for arrested recovery, for which a number of activities like handling quality evaluation, higher sink rate landing, structural testing, arrester hook integration on aircraft and the like have been carried out. The phase of actual taxi-in engagement and flight engagement is progressively planned during the course of 2017."

What then went wrong with the Mk-1?

Balaji said it was intended to be a technology demonstrators (TD) that provide inputs for the final development of an aircraft.
"When the programme was envisaged at the time of its sanction in 2003, it was expected that the naval version could be derived from the air force version, already flying, by introduction of a stronger landing gear and arrester hook. However, as detailed design progressed, there was a need for significant changes to the structure, a much more complex landing gear to be housed in the centre fuselage, and an externally mounted arrester hook on a dedicated platform.

"Further, the major constraint of design space due to the conversion of the existing LCA platform resulted in a sub-optimal design and compromises leading to the Navy Mk-1 variant being heavier than anticipated. A naval aircraft is typically 500-700 kg heavier than its air force variant due to the need of strengthened structure, heavier landing gear and arrester hook. However, the navy Mk-1, being a first-time development with associated conservatism in design and constraints of the air force configuration, led to an aircraft weight of around 900-1,000 kg heavier than the air force Mk-1.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Indranil » 10 Dec 2016 05:48

I don't expect the first NLCA mk2 to take to the sky before 2022.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Philip » 14 Dec 2016 11:54

The moot point is that by 2020,when the first prototype arrives...(and we know when the first LCA p'type arrived and how long testing has taken to get to this state of affairs when the first sqd. has yet to take off)..the challenges that the IN will face for the next decade and the character of carrier aviation reqd. for the next two decades. The US is steadily testing naval UCAVs and even the plagued JSF ,now threatened by the Donald,will be in some degree of service with the USN/USMC. barring the naval Rafale and Chinese clones of the SU-33,MIG-29K production for the RuN and maybe a few more for the IN,there are no new naval fighters on the horizon.Any naval version of the T-50/FGFA will likely arrive only by 2025 after the first T-50 sqds start arriving sometime around 2020. Does this give an opportunity for the Swedes to develop a Sea Gripen with A-to-A refuelling capability? A twin-engined fighter is preferred because of the obvious survivability factor if one engine fails. Why for decades the USN has operated with F-4 Phantoms,F-14s and F-18s. The single-engined JSF is going to be a leap of faith into the future.Why additional late model SHs are still being acquired by those who operate them.

For a long time I've asked the Q why a "stealth" version of the LCA cannot be developed since we've made much progress with the tech developed for it. A stealth LCA with a TVC engine such as the EJ or even an Ru one, could be a winner both for the IAF and IN. It would have much enhanced capability than the Mk-1 ,be a cost-effective acquisition built at home ,and also save us much development time and costs before we embark upon the AMCA ,which should have extra features than the FGFA/T-50 that the IAF is likely to start operating post 2020+

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Austin » 14 Dec 2016 20:44

Indian Navy Charts Independent Course for Carrier Fighter
The Indian Navy has started the process of identifying twin-engine fighter candidates for its Indian Aircraft Carrier-2. It has rejected the naval version of the single-engine, domestically producted, HAL Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). India has procured Russian Mig-29Ks for its current carrier Vikramaditya (formerly the Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov) and for its first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1), which is under construction.

“The present naval version of the Light Combat Aircraft does not meet the qualitative requirements of the Indian Navy,” Chief of Navy Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba told AIN. “While the Navy will continue to support the Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) in developing a carrier-based LCA, we will seek [alternative] aircraft elsewhere at the same time,” Lanba confirmed. They will most likely be catapult-assisted take-off but with arrested recovery designs, to match the design of the IAC-2. (The Vikramaditya and IAC-1 have ski-jump take-offs).

The requirement is expected to be for 20 aircraft, and will be independent of the “Make in India” plans for a single-engine Air Force fighter, for which OEMs have had discussions on with the Ministry of Defence. The Navy’s desire for twin engines would therefore rule out the carrier-based version of the Saab Gripen, which the Swedish company continues to study, now in cooperation with Embraer. The choices for the Navy carrier fighter would appear to be limited, unless Russian designs are considered again. The Boeing F/A-18E/F and Dassault Rafale M could be candidates.

Currently, two naval LCA technology demonstrators are flying, but without any payloads. “These are just able to takeoff and land. Though this is a good learning experience, the naval LCA is too heavy for its current engine. It does not meet the thrust ratio required to take off with full weapon load,” a navy official told AIN. He added that aerodynamic stress level on a carrier aircraft is high. For instance, the design for the naval version has to incorporate a radar “that needs to be shock-mounted, since the aircraft lands at 135 knots with afterburners on and full flaps.”

“In DRDO’s defense, it did take the Navy time to tell them whether they needed the aircraft to be designed for the ski or catapult,” said a representative of a leading OEM speaking with AIN on condition of anonymity. The naval LCA design is based on the ski-jump and to replace the Mig-29Ks that will go for upgrades in 2019 and replacement in 2029.

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby Prasad » 14 Dec 2016 21:54

Ah So that statement comes out of unsuitability of NLCA to CATOBAR operations and adding that to mk1 design will just be too much to do right now?

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 14 Dec 2016 22:45

If they are going towards a Catapult launch, may as well begin looking at conversions on the LCA family now and send a few modified aircraft to begin testing over the next few years. If for nothing else but to gain competency in design which will prove very handy further down the road (for both LCA and AMCA programs).

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Re: Naval LCA - News and Discussion

Postby ManuJ » 15 Dec 2016 01:11

But IAC-2 is not going to be operational for at least another 15 years.
Why the hurry to acquire fighters for it?
And isn't that enough time to design a derivative of NLCA for catapult operations?


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