In six months from now, one of India’s most ambitious fighter aircraft development programmes may encounter an existential dilemma. In December, the Defence Ministry is likely to take a call on whether to shut down or continue investing in the project to develop an aircraft carrier-based variant of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.
The government, which has already committed Rs. 3,500 crore to develop the fighter, needs a straight answer. Will the prototypes of the Tejas-N (Naval), now being tested, eventually result in a multi-role carrier-borne fighter good enough to hold its own against emerging threats in the Indian Ocean region? And can advanced variants of the prototypes, called the LCA-N Mk-2, be developed, manufactured and deployed within a finite period of five to seven years? Read More