Cain Marko wrote:Frankly Philip. You are really underestimating how challenging the lca was and what it had provided. A freakin turnip has more blood. They've squeezed everything out of that little frame in the mk1a. If the Ada got this far, I feel extremely confident that they could create a best in class twin engine fighter. Barring none. And quickly.
Sir, as much as we love and own LCA, we should be circumspect with unknowns. For decades DDM criticized LCAs delays and the supporters, especially on this BRF forum, gave lots of explanations as to why the delays were not abnormal. These included slipping of time lines of Typhoon, Rafales, F35, etc, which were clean sheet designs built by nations with tremendous experience. Not once ADA timelines were adhered to, which is to be expected and not just in India. Forget about development, even production timelines keep slipping. Check the delivery status of 4 FOC a/c to be delivered by April (as was expected as late as in Jan 2020). There is COVID-19, but that wouldn't necessarily stop wars.
TEDBF is a new fighter with a lot of commonality. Much less than between IAF and NCLA whose commonality decreased over the years causing delays. NCLA did its first flight in 2012, first flight from the SBTF in 2014, arrested landing in 2019 and carrier trials in 2020! And even at this stage NCLA is yet to demonstrate complete operational capability. TEDBF on the other hand is a dual-engine carrier based fighter. 4 years of development after 1st flight is extremely optimistic!
And now, assuming (6yr first flight + 4yr testing =) 10 years for development, there will be issue of production (that we know starts after 2-3 years of placing order). Realistically speaking, TEDBF will take 12-15yrs to begin operations. Also it will require separate production line itself, which will have only a limited production rate for economic reasons. Unlike Tejas, we won't be expecting it to be sold to other nations in that time frame, considering very new nations having carriers.
IN may be okay with this for the simple reason that they are looking for TEDBF as a replacement for Mig-29K. To quote:
The top leadership of ADA told Livefist on Tuesday, “The Indian Navy is looking for a twin-engine deck based fighter in lieu of the LCA Navy Mk.2. With confidence generated from AMCA design, we have developed twin engine competence. Hence configuration is currently being worked out. This is being targeted as a replacement for the MiG-29K with a first flight by 2026.”
The decision to curtail plans on the LCA Navy Mk.2 and instead pursue a twin-engine design isn’t surprising. The Indian Navy, while consistently supportive of the LCA Navy program, has made it clear it needs twin-engine fighters for its carrier decks.
“We are not ditching the LCA Navy Mk.2. The navy is adamant they do not want a single engine fighter. Hence we have to reconfigure. This decision has been forced on is. It involves a significant design effort which could be avoided if we continue with the single engine LCA Navy Mk.2,” a top ADA officer told Livefist.
“We have all the elements required from both projects (LCA Navy and AMCA) to assemble the new design,” says the ADA leadership. “We are also equipped with knowledge of the pitfalls in the design and prototyping phase from past projects, so we have an adequate level of confidence. The bigger picture is that the next deck-based fighter of the Indian Navy should be an Indian design.”