Unmanned Tejas in a decade?

Just saw this interview of DRDO chief M Natarajan to Vayu Aerospace & Defence Review, where he says, “We can adapt the LCA into becoming an advanced UCAV (unmanned combat aerial vehicle), not immediately, perhaps 10 years down the road.”

He also says, “As a corollary to these developments, we can think of a twin-engined LCA of the 18-20 ton category, gradually developing a spectrum of products… We can think positively of the LCA replacing MiG-21s, then we can think of a futuristic MCA to replace certain number of squadrons of medium multirole combat aircraft, but with more advanced technologies.”

Regarding Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar’s biography of the Tejas programme (“The Tejas Story”), and his assertion that ego clashes between the IAF and DRDO had caused the programme delays, Natarajan said, “Beyond 2000, this book has no relevance. Dr SR Valluri was there, then there was a designer from UK called Mendiratta. Dr Valluri had written to me when I took over. I said there was no reason to go back into the past. As of now there are no conflicts between the IAF and DRDO. DRDO took the initiative when Air Chief Marshal Tyagi was Chief of Air Staff and we asked them to position IAF officers at the LCA facility in Bangalore. As of now there are 25 IAF personnel with Air Marshal Nanjappa leading this LCA induction team.

Photo ┬ęCopyright LiveFist / Shiv Aroor

5 thoughts on “Unmanned Tejas in a decade?”

  1. Whenever there are two people togeter Conflicts will arise. onflict management is what takes one to Leadership. Not like the present episosde where Shri Chandrasekhar Ji and Madame Nath are escalating conflicts being guilty of creating one…and many others.

  2. Hey Shiv,

    can u get us a brief descri regarding MCA its time frame,budget,tech incorporated,and the total no.of being inducted.

    As far as i know,this MCA is single seater but dual engined LCA with two tails as opposed to the proposed tail less design.

    IT will accumulate the same same stealth capabilieties to evade low freq and high freq radars.And will incorporate the DRDO developed Cockpit stealth tech.As well as a couple of internal bays on its belly and 2 more on sides of air intakes(jst like F-22).

    And the engine development is already in progress with a no aim and description but just to fine tune the present kaveri and later uprating it to go supercruise.

    MCA is to replace both the JAGs and Mirages as well as MIG-29s

    And this is my trillion dollar question Shiv:

    230 MKI(being inducted with replacing nothing)
    200Tejas(replacing MIG-21s)
    126 MMRCA(SUpossed to be replacing 21,but now as an interim measure according to both babus and IAF)
    ………………..These are to be procured

    50 Mirage 2K
    63 MIG-29
    140 JAguar
    130 MIG-27
    Here you might be repalcing the above 4 types with 2 stealthy ones
    FGFA and MCA.

    FGFA is to replace MIRAGE and JAguars while MCA is to replace the rest of MIGs as a matter of fact the indigenous ones are always to replace MIGs .

    And now get my math.
    procurement before 2017 are MKI,MMRCA and Tejas
    which add upto as many as 556.
    And with the IAF now making each sqad having as many as upto 20 A/C the above number makes to approximately 30 sqadsincluding trainers and everything(~20 each)

    and now the future developed ones to replace the existing ones are MCA and FGFA
    Both has to replace as many as 383 A/C it means as many as 20 squads.

    And the total stereotypes of a/c in indian arsenal still counts as

    And there been speculations that IAF may order the rest MMRCA to make it a round fig as 200.This gives an additional 76 a/c which counts to ~ 4 sqads and the total squads in IAF inventory adds upto

    And the projected aqad strength is 45.
    And if IAF fills the rest gap with MCA and FGFA the total strength goes upto 55 squads.

    Are you gonna shed some light on my math.If IAF wants some 12-15 a/c per sqad in case the total strength goes upto 60 which people say is good enough to defend against china and move aggressive against paki at the same point of time.

    And another question is that,is IAF have enough weaponry in its inventory or is it just aircraft?

  3. he he he – jumping generations without delivering on promises?

    Tejas is an attempt at 4th gen fighter without experience building a 3rd gen craft. We all know the gross miscalculations on time and cost of this project (even if we forget/forgive the Kaveri’s problems). Now India is jumping from 4th to UCAVs (skipping 5th gen). If we have one enemy – it is our own overconfidence. Haste is blabbering to press and struggling to walk the talk

    For the MCA, your calculation are right, it is going to slip into oblivion without even flying. We already have too many crafts. FGFA will be increased to fill any deficiencies. MCA will go from drawing board to dust. Coz by the time MCA flies, every country in the west would be fighting wars with SCRAMJET UCAVs.

    I am not against progress or research on these areas, but why commit on a timeframe and disappoint later? Time for them to hire some Kellog’s and Wharton Management students to teach some project management and estimation skills.

  4. Iunderstand lot of people are fascinated by Kellog’s /Whartoon but there are some good colleges out here too – FMS/ISB/IIM’s and all and the entrance to these is far tougher than Kellog’s/Wharton/Princeton or UC berkeley ­čÖé

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