India’s DRDO Forced To Ditch LCA Navy Mk2 For Cleansheet Twin-Engine Jet Design
A new twin-engine naval fighter design proposal is taking shape at India’s principal combat aircraft design house in Bengaluru to supply the Indian Navy with a future fighter for its aircraft carriers. The proposed fighter, with officially stated plans for a first flight by 2026, isn’t a choice but a compulsion. And it effectively puts on hold the Mk.2 version of the single-engine naval Light Combat Aircraft (N-LCA).
The proposal is a dramatic shift in plans by the DRDO-administered Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which until as recently as February, had been fine-tuning design changes on the LCA Navy Mk.2. Plans on the new jet design were first revealed earlier this week on Delhi Defence Review here. But here’s the rub: the DRDO isn’t switching tracks willingly, but has rather been forced into pursuing a twin-engine design by the Indian Navy. After years of studies on the LCA Navy and the proposed LCA Navy Mk.2, the navy has made it clear it doesn’t want a single engine fighter.
The proposal, intended as a convergence of work done thus far on the LCA Navy Mk.2 and the twin engine design studies on the concept fifth generation AMCA stealth fighter, has an ambitious deadline right out the door.
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.”
https://www.livefistdefence.com/2019/11 ... esign.html
Plenty more to the article than the above quote but this one stuck out to me more than anything else…
“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.”
First flight is apparently planned for 2026.