The Deal For LCA Fighters To Be Signed On The First Day Of Aero India

(This News Article Is Originally Posted on Livefist by Team Livefist)

After months of procedural prevarication, the Indian government has cleared the decks for its biggest-ever deal for indigenous equipment — a ₹45,696 crore deal for 73 LCA Tejas Mk.1A fighters and ten LCA Mk.1 trainers.

It’s final that 83 LCA MK1A deal to be signed on the first day of Aero India 2021. The deal includes 73 fighter and 10 trainers. Keeping delivery as a first priority Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated the second production line of LCA plant today in Bengaluru.

The LCA Mk.1A is an improved configuration of the baseline LCA that bridges the capability gap towards the planned LCA Mk.2, which will be a substantially more different and powerful jet. The Mk.1A will be mid-air refuellable, sport an updated internal Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) — likely in-house kit from the DRDO’s DARE laboratory — an external Self Protection Jammer (SPJ) pod to enhance survivability and an AESA radar. The Mk.1A needs to be able to fire different types of BVR and close combat air to air missiles. The meat of the Mk.1A, though, will be a slew of major improvements in the LCA’s squadron-level maintainability contours. It is difficult to overstate just how much importance the IAF has placed on ramped up no-nonsense maintainability, more than a milestone away from the admittedly unwieldy maintenance architecture built into the Mk.1. On maintainability alone, the Tejas Mk.1A will have the 43 improvements out of 57 planned on the bigger, more powerful LCA Mk.2:

  • Panel interchangeability: In the prototype stage, composite panels were built and matched to specific airframes. For the Mk.1A, tooling will be built up and panels moulded lending themselves to easy interchangeability between airframes, plus spares. The IAF won’t deal with a platform that doesn’t allow at least this level of squadron-level maintainability, so this is a priority.
  • Quick access: Several airframe panels that required daily servicing have a large number of screws that need to be removed — a time-consuming affair that eats into the platform’s turnaround time. These will be replaced on the Mk.1A by quick-release fasteners making it easier and faster for maintainers access, considerably bringing downtime required to service aircraft. Importantly, quick-release fasteners will remain with the panel and therefore minimise FOD chances.
  • Gromets in composite panels: When fasteners are regularly used for removal and installation, there is a possibility of damage and widening of holes. Mk.1A panels will have to stop this.
  • LRU positions: A number of LRUs will be repositioned for better access. Current configurations make it a nuisance to access frequently used LRUs.
  • Additional aids: The Mk.1A package will contain ground handling aids and testers to enable speedier turnaround of aircraft

Shankul Bhandare

Hello, I am shankul and I love defence research and development and want to spread it through blogging.

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