India to develop medium combat aircraft with stealth features

February 13th, 2009 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Feb 13 (IANS) After the light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) plans to develop a medium combat aircraft (MCA) with “stealth features” and an unmanned combat aircraft vehicle (UCAV).
The Aeronautics Development Agency (ADA) of the DRDO, which developed the LCA with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, will develop the MCA with the Indian Air Force.

“We feel confident that after the LCA it will be the MCA and followed by the UCAV,” M. Natarajan, DRDO chief and scientific adviser to the defence minister, told reporters at the 7th edition of the international air show Aero India-2009 in Yelahanka, on the outskirts of this city.

The twin engine MCA will weigh 19-20 tonnes.

“It is possible to have an MCA with a twin engine, with less weight and improved electronics. It will also have an inbuilt weapon load for stealth reasons. It is doable and it is a challenge,” said Natarajan.

The DRDO is also planning a twin-seater trainer variant of the LCA, which for the first time performed manoeuvres at the air show.

“We will have an air force LCA, naval LCA and LCA twin seater trainer. Five to 10 years down the line, the role of the (LCA) trainers will be superior to the hawks (advanced jet trainers acquired from Britain),” Natarajan added.

The IAF has placed an order for 20 Tejas lightweight multi-role planes, India’s second indigenous fighter aircraft, and may increase the number to 40.

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