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Why Did India Place a Large Order for Tejas and Prachand Helicopters? Here are 5 Key Points

Why Did India Place a Large Order for Tejas and Prachand Helicopters? Here are 5 Key Points

India is poised to enhance its Defence capabilities with a significant procurement initiative. The Indian Government has approved the acquisition of 97 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (Mark 1A) and has also given the green light for the procurement of 156 Prachand Combat helicopters. Among these, 90 helicopters are designated for the Army, while 66 are allocated for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

This landmark decision represents the largest order in the history of the Indian Air Force. Both the Tejas aircraft and the Prachand helicopters are domestically produced, with a combined value of Rs 1.1 lakh crore.

Presently, the Indian Air Force operates a fleet of 40 LCA aircraft. With this procurement, the defense arsenal is set to expand to 10 squadrons in the coming years, reaching a total of 220 LCA Mark aircraft.

Here are the five key points outlining India’s defense strategy for its indigenously developed aircraft:


Establishing International Brand Presence:

India’s Tejas faces challenges in securing international orders due to a limited fleet of operational aircraft, raising concerns about its credibility in providing sustained customer service.

Notably, the Tejas aircraft participated in a recent Malaysian Air Force tender but narrowly missed securing the deal, which was ultimately awarded to a South Korean fighter FA-50 jet. Several factors contributed to Tejas losing the bid.

The bolstering of the Air Force fleet not only elevates the credibility of the aircraft features but also augments the production of aircraft. This certainly captures the attention of new customers who consistently seek to validate the aircraft’s capabilities. Specifically, the Tejas aircraft has experienced a substantial increase in its flying hours, highlighting its robust strength and muscular prowess in contrast to other aircraft.

The integration of delta wings in Indian aircraft offers clear advantages over conventional counterparts; nevertheless, the actual effectiveness of this design can only be verified through real-world operations.

Tejas Mark 2 Engine Procurement and Future Expansion:

India Teajs has received a significant offer to manufacture the GE 414 engine, presenting a substantial opportunity for the country’s defense sector. However, it’s crucial to highlight that this engine is designated for the Tejas Mark 2.

Additionally, the success of any fighter jet in the global market hinges on a robust foundation, especially when introducing upgraded versions. To ensure international competitiveness, it is imperative to continue operationalizing Tejas Mark 1, enhancing its reliability and performance for potential foreign exports.

Phasing Out Outdated MiG-21 Fighter Jets:

India has made the strategic decision to decommission its entire fleet of aging MiG-21 fighter jets, colloquially referred to as “Flying Coffins” due to their notorious history of frequent crashes.

The unreliability of these aircraft has been underscored by numerous incidents, with one particular occurrence involving the loss of control over the Pakistan border. Additionally, there have been recurrent operational failures with other aircraft, further accentuating their inadequacy within the context of the current technological landscape.

Introduction of New Tejas Mark 1 Aircraft:

To address these challenges, India is in the process of phasing out the aging MiG-21 and MiG-27 aircraft from its defense service. The new Tejas Mark 1 aircraft is set to replace them, providing enhanced capabilities and bolstering the immunity of India’s defense operations.

Brand Promotion and Marketing for Indigenous Aircraft:

Recognizing the importance of user familiarity, India is actively promoting its self-developed aircraft, particularly after securing substantial orders for Tejas and Prachand. This not only showcases the strength of these aircraft in the international market but also establishes a benchmark for their credibility.

Showcasing Capabilities at International Events:

India’s recent participation in the Dubai Airshow featured impressive displays of flying capabilities, highlighting the prowess of indigenous aircraft. The performance of the Indian-made Dhruvu Helicopter garnered attention, further elevating the profile of Indian aircraft on the global stage.

Unique Features of Prachand Helicopter:

The Prachand helicopter, designed for battlefield deployment as an attack helicopter, stands out with its advanced weaponry and avionics. Positioned to compete with helicopters like the Apache, Turkish T129, and the European Tiger, Prachand emphasizes India’s capability to produce unique and technologically advanced military assets.

Elevating Indigenous Products:

This strategic decision underscores the government’s unwavering commitment to strengthening the nation’s defense capabilities while simultaneously fostering the growth of indigenous defense manufacturing.

The initiative encompasses a comprehensive approach, ranging from neutralizing tanks and armored personnel carriers to enhancing the Indian Navy’s surface platforms, positioning them as primary offensive weapons. Notably, the introduction of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk 1A for both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army marks a significant stride.

Simultaneously, the upgrade of Su-30 MKI Aircraft, featuring the latest weapon integration and avionics, enhances its overall power. The entire process is set to be executed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), further promoting indigenous prowess.

Additionally, the approval for the development of Medium Range Anti-Ship Missiles for the Indian Navy’s surface platforms underscores the nation’s commitment to advancing its indigenous defense capabilities.

He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

Aerospace

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan is embarking on an ambitious endeavor to bolster its air defense capabilities with the acquisition and potential local production of the Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter jet.

Talks are reportedly underway between the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the developer of the FC-31, signaling a significant leap forward for Pakistan’s military aviation prowess.

The FC-31, a mid-sized, twin-engine fifth-generation fighter, promises advanced air combat capabilities, including stealth technology that surpasses anything currently in the PAF‘s fleet. With plans to retire the JF-17 production line by 2030, the FC-31 could emerge as the new flagship aircraft, offering unmatched performance and versatility.

Experts speculate that Pakistan’s interest in the FC-31 could also signal broader implications for the international market. As China develops both land and carrier versions of the FC-31, analysts foresee it becoming a cost-effective alternative to pricier options like the F-35, potentially challenging the dominance of the US aerospace industry and reshaping global strategic rivalries.

Adding complexity to the deal is China’s push for the WS-13 engine, previously rejected for the JF-17 but now under consideration for both the FC-31 and future JF-17 variants. Engine standardization could streamline logistical and maintenance processes for the PAF, further enhancing the appeal of the FC-31.

While negotiations continue, the success of the FC-31 acquisition and local production hinges on several factors, including the outcome of the WS-13 engine discussions. Pakistan’s pursuit of the FC-31 comes amidst its eagerness to replace its aging fleet, with previous attempts to upgrade its F-16s by the United States due to geopolitical pressures.

Amidst these developments, Pakistan previous interest in the Turkish-made Kaan fifth-generation fighter underscores its eagerness to replace its aging fleet. Despite previous attempts to secure upgrades for its F-16s from the United States, Pakistan’s quest for advanced aerial capabilities has led it to explore alternative avenues, with the FC-31 emerging as a promising contender in its pursuit of air superiority.

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Aerospace

Airbus presents new Wingman concept at ILA Berlin Airshow

Airbus presents new Wingman concept at ILA Berlin Airshow

At the prestigious ILA aerospace trade show in Berlin, Airbus Defence and Space made waves by introducing its pioneering Wingman concept, marking a significant leap forward in military aviation technology.

Teaming up with Helsing, Europe’s leading defense AI and software company, Airbus showcased a framework cooperation agreement aimed at revolutionizing the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) in defense.

Airbus Wingman

The Wingman concept represents a paradigm shift in aerial warfare, introducing unmanned platforms equipped with advanced AI capabilities to augment the capabilities of manned combat aircraft. Pilots in command aircraft such as the Eurofighter command these autonomous drones, positioning them to undertake high-risk mission tasks that would traditionally pose a significant threat to manned-only aircraft.

Central to the Wingman concept is Manned-Unmanned Teaming, wherein manned aircraft serve as “command fighters,” retaining ultimate control over mission decisions while delegating tactical tasks to unmanned systems. This synergistic collaboration promises to enhance mission flexibility, increase combat mass, and minimize risk exposure for pilots, thereby bolstering overall operational effectiveness.

The capabilities of the Wingman extend across a diverse spectrum of mission profiles, ranging from reconnaissance and target jamming to precision strikes against both ground and aerial targets. Equipped with advanced sensors, connectivity solutions, and a diverse array of armaments, the Wingman stands poised to redefine the operational landscape of modern air forces.

While the Wingman model showcased at ILA Berlin represents the pinnacle of current technological innovation, it also serves as a catalyst for future design iterations. As with any pioneering concept, refinement and evolution are inevitable, with each generation of the Wingman poised to push the boundaries of aerial warfare even further.

MQ-28 Ghost Bat

Boeing introduced the MQ-28 Ghost Bat, an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), which made its maiden flight in February 2021. Developed by Boeing Australia, the MQ-28 leverages artificial intelligence to serve as a force multiplier for manned fighter jets.

The Ghost Bat is engineered to operate in tandem with existing military aircraft, enhancing and extending the capabilities of airborne missions. This cost-effective UCAV is designed to work as an intelligent teammate, complementing and amplifying the effectiveness of manned operations in various mission profiles.

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Aerospace

Take First Glimpse of USAF B-21 Raider, Latest Nuclear Stealth Bomber

Take First Glimpse of USAF B-21 Raider, Latest Nuclear Stealth Bomber
Image:USAF

The United States Air Force (USAF) has unveiled the first photographs of the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider bomber in flight.

These images were captured during test flights conducted by the B-21 Combined Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base, marking a significant milestone in the development of this sixth-generation aircraft.

Currently undergoing flight tests in California, the B-21 Raider represents the next generation of stealth bombers. With an estimated cost of around $700 million per aircraft, the B-21 Raider is poised to become a crucial component of the USAF’s arsenal for conventional Long Range Strike missions.

According to Air Force briefings, the B-21 Raider will form part of a comprehensive family of systems, encompassing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance capabilities, electronic warfare, communication systems, and more. Notably, the bomber will be nuclear-capable and adaptable for both manned and unmanned operations.

It boasts the flexibility to deploy a wide array of stand-off and direct-attack munitions, ensuring versatility in various combat scenarios. One of the B-21’s distinguishing features is its extensive integration of digital technology, as highlighted in discussions held during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Designed with an open systems architecture, the B-21 Raider is built to swiftly incorporate emerging technologies, ensuring its effectiveness against evolving threats over time. The B-21 Raider is slated to replace the aging B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers, bolstering US national security objectives and providing reassurance to allies and partners worldwide.

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