NEW DELHI — India will mount a homemade active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar on the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark-2, Indian Air Force sources said. However the LCA is nearly 15 years behind schedule, and the Mark-2 prototype is not expected to fly until 2013.
India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is developing the AESA radar for the LCA-Mark-2, sources said. They did not reveal to what extent it will indigenous, but said overseas help will be sought for the radar’s completion.
The Indian content of the LCA Mark-2 will be about 70 percent, according to one scientist with the DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which spearheads LCA development.
The LCA Mark-1, which is due for induction in 2013-2014, will not be used for combat because it does not have the required thrust. The Mark-2, however, will be powered by the General Electric F414 engine and the aircraft has added two tons to the LCA’s original weight of eight tons.
ADA had to look overseas for a suitable engine for the Mark-2 because of technical snags in the development of the Indian-made Kaveri engine.
The Air Force has ordered 20 LCA Mark-1 aircraft and is likely to order more then 200 LCA Mark-2s once the aircraft is inducted into service.
The single-seat, single-engine LCA is an advanced technology supersonic, multirole, air-superiority fighter designed for air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-sea combat. Proposed in 1983, the LCA entered full-scale engineering development in 1993.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. is the principal producer of the LCA.