01 Dec 15. India to Order 100 Tejas Aircraft for IAF. Decks have been cleared for the country’s largest ever defence order, over RS 2trn for 100 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. At a crucial November 27 governing body meeting of the DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) that included manufacturers Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the IAF brought down a wishlist of 57 outstanding maintenance issues with the aircraft down to 43, all of which can be executed by ADA and HAL without changing the aircraft design.
“We are now hopeful of an order for 100 Mark 1-As before the end of the current financial year,” DRDO chief Dr S Christopher told Mail Today. The meeting of the governing council headed by Dr Christopher follows the September 23 signing of new aircraft specifications between the four key stakeholders in the three-decade old LCA project-the IAF, DRDO, MoD and HAL. The agreement has launched the struggling LCA Tejas project on a new trajectory. Designs of the Mark-1A will be complete by 2017 and the modified aircraft could enter production beginning 2019.
HAL is currently supplying the IAF with 20 variants of the basic LCA Tejas. The DRDO chief says the Mark 1-A Tejas will address other shortcomings indicated by the IAF like the lack of an Active Electronically Scanned Array or AESA radar and Electronic Support Measures (ESM) which will be carried on a pod instead of within the fuselage. The modified Mark 1-A was proposed by HAL this year as a stop gap because the Mark 2, with uprated GE-414 engines and a lengthened fuselage, will not be ready for induction before 2024.
“Re-positioning of major (aircraft) aggregates for the ease of maintenance has nullified the requirement to stretch the fuselage that would have increased aerodynamic drag to such levels as to require the more powerful F-414 engine. This negates the requirement to have LCA Mk2 for the IAF,” says Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retired) of the Centre for Air Power Studies. Significantly, HAL has assured the IAF that it will double production capacity in its Bengaluru facility to roll out 16 aircraft each year.
The Mark 1-A is meant to arrest the alarming shortfall in the IAF’s fighter squadron fleet from a sanctioned strength of 39.5 squadrons to the present 35 squadrons. These squadrons are projected to further dip by 2022 when over 200 MiG-21 and MiG-27s are phased out.
The ADA is now designing the LCA’s Mark 2 variant only for the Indian Navy and the design will be ready by 2022. The agency also hopes to complete designs of a generation 4.5 Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft by 2022. (Source: defence-aerosapce.com/Business Today India)
30 Nov 15. Chinese bomber exercise affirms air-defence identification zone, penetrates Second Island Chain. An unusually large People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) formation of eight bombers supported by three surveillance and electronic intelligence (ELINT) aircraft exercised over the East China Sea on 27 November before flying a long distance inside the Second Island Chain. A PLAAF spokesman was quoted in state media as having described the exercise as affirming China’s East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), declared in December 2013.
Details released by the Japanese Ministry of Defense show that eight Xian Aircraft Corporation H-6K bombers exercised in two groups of four aircraft each (two company-level squadrons subordinate to a regiment).
Photos of the bombers taken by intercepting Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) fighters indicate that one group of H-6Ks was from the 28th Regiment of the PLAAF’s 10th Division, based in Anqing, about 450 km east of Shanghai. One group of H-6K bombers appeared to stay within China’s new East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), declared in December 2013. Until the two bomber groups separated west of Okinawa, the formation was supported by a single PLAAF KJ-200 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.
A second group