M A I N   N E W S

DRDO to roll out own fifth-generation fighter
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, October 23
While the indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas, is expected to receive operational clearance in the next two months and its induction into the IAF is scheduled for next year, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has embarked upon a project to develop its own fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

The proposed DRDO aircraft would be in the medium-weight (20-tonne) category and different from the joint Indo-Russian fifth-generation fighter that is on the cards, which is in the heavier 30-tonne category like the Su-30.

“The seed project for the new aircraft has started and is expected to be complete in about 18 months,” P.S. Subramanyam, Director, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), and head of the Tejas project, told The Tribune here today. The seed project would define the technical and operational requirements and lay out the broad concepts for developing the aircraft.

“Our proposed fighter would be a twin-engined aircraft in the category of the MiG-29,” Subramanyam said.

On the status of the Tejas project, Subramanyam said the aircraft trials for launching R-73 short-range anti-aircraft missiles and 1000 lbs bombs have been successful. “The 10 prototypes and pre-production variants have undertaken 1,450 sorties, which include about 200 with weapons,” he said.

The IAF has projected a total requirement for about 120 Tejas and 16 two-seater trainer variants for equipping seven squadrons, while the Navy wants 57 aircraft of this type.

The ADA is also looking at integrating the Israeli Python air-to-air missile with the Tejas to meet the IAF requirements, while the Navy wants it to examine the possibility of the Israeli Derby missiles that it already uses on the Sea Harrier. The Tejas’ avionics system, Subramanyam said, was open-ended so that weapon systems could be changed over seamlessly.

Of the 200-odd Tejas to be produced, each of which would cost Rs 200 crore, about 100 would be powered by the American General Electric 414 engine. Subramanyam said that a new project had been taken up for the development of the Kaveri engine in collaboration with French firm SNECMA that would meet the revised weight and flight parameters of the Tejas.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |