HAL's LCA likely to have Lockheed participation
New Delhi | August 22, 2006 2:45:23 PM IST
The US based defence and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is likely to be one of the foreign companies short listed to collaborate with the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in the making of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.
Lockheed representatives are in Bangalore to participate in a two-day aerospace and defence suppliers conference beginning Monday, where they are likely to have talks on various projects. According to the media spokesperson of Lockheed, discussions will cover the supply of F-16 aircrafts. The Lockheed has offered to collaborate with the HAL in the manufacture of the F-16 aircrafts in India.
About 15 associated U.S. and international companies would also be attending the conference, being held in Bangalore. They include BAE Systems of Britain, Elbit of Israel, General Electrics, Pratt and Whitney and Raytheon, besides 50 Indian companies.
As far as the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is concerned Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee has indicated that the aircraft is most likely to be ready by 2008-2010 and the government may consider collaboration with 'friendly countries' in this task.
The Chairperson of HAL Ashok Baweja had stated some time back that they were looking at possibility of foreign collaboration to meet the deadline for the induction of the aircraft in the Indian Air Force (IAF), by 2008-09.
The ageing Mig-21 fleet of the IAF is expected to be replaced by the LCA, but the delay in the aircraft taking off has become a cause of concern for the security apparatus of the country.
Defence sources say the pace at which the project is progressing shows Tejas entering combat service only around 2012. Even then the first two squadrons will be powered by GE-404 engines imported from the US owing to delays in developing the indigenous Kaveri engine. Estimated to cost almost Rs.4 billion when the project was sanctioned, the engine's development cost is now expected to be in the region of Rs.29 billion.
Technical problems like the multi-mode radar (MMR) to be fitted on the LCA's nose cone, could force our scientists to consider a similar radar from other countries like the Elta from the Israeli Aircraft Industries or the AN/APG-67 from Lockheed Martin, as per the Electronic Radar and Detection Establishment (LRDE) scientists.(ANI)
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