Tejas to replace MiG as key fighter
- Indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas would be the mainstay of the Indian Air Force and would likely replace the entire MIG-21 fleet of almost 250 fighters.
- About 250 MiG-21s were in service, most of which would be phased out in the next 10-15 years
- In the past, the IAF had been reluctant to fully back the domestic Tejas programme.
- LCA will be mainstay. There will be seven squadrons of it. It is 3-4 times better than MiG-21s
- The second version of Tejas, which is an improved version, is coming into production after the first two squadrons.
- The improved version of LCA referred to as Mk-1A with four major improvements over the Mk-1 variant has been offered by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as an interim measure in view of the delay in LCA-MK2.
- The third squadron with 1A would be a highly improved version, which was under trials. Those special additives are under trial like firing a Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile etc.
Functionally, the LCA is better than many other foreign fighters.
- It reacts very smoothly,
- its turn radius is very good,
- manoeuvrability is very good
LCA has limitations
- However, the LCA being a single-engine, light-weight fighter, it has its limitations, which is why another twin-engine fighter would be needed other than the Rafale. In the sense that it is a light combatant. It cannot go into deep penetration. It is mostly good for dogfights in your own sky or to degrade the opponent Army’s command posts. We need more twin-engine fighters for deep penetration