NEW DELHI: The Navy has dumped the indigenously developed naval version of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and said it was “not up to the mark yet”.
The Navy has now initiated a hunt for another fighter aircraft to operate from its aircraft carrier. The country’s first indigenously built combat aircraft was recently inducted into the Indian Air Force to the fill gap left by the depleting fleet of MiG -21.
“Unfortunately, the LCA is not being able to meet the carrier’s required capability. That is why we need an alternative aircraft to operate from these two aircraft carriers,” Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said while terming the indigenous aircraft “overweight”. The Ministry of Defence had allocated `3,650 crore for the naval programme and only in May last, the aircraft had made its successful flight test in Goa.
“As far as carrier-based aircraft is concerned, we need it in a time line of the induction of the aircraft carrier. We have the MiG-29K, which operates from INS Vikramaditya and will operate from (indigenous aircraft carrier) INS Vikrant. We were also hoping to operate the LCA from these two aircraft carriers,” the Chief said adding that the Navy was still encouraging the Defence Research and Development Organisation to develop the LCA for Navy but with upgrades.
At the moment, the Navy was in the process of identifying aircraft that would meet its requirements, he said and added, “If you look around the world, there are not too many options available and we need this carrier capable aircraft sooner than later. So, I am looking at the next five-six years.”