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LCA ( light combat aircraft ) from HAL INDIA

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hi battlemike,

india needs approx 200 lcas & 126 mrca to replace the 350+ mig-21s which are ageing.
reg f-16 ( though it is a superb plane, i'd personally not go for it due to the sanctions scare & not because the pakistanis have them ). anyways f-16 is in the running for the 126 mrca order.
the lca is not a cheap throwaway fighter & it is acknowledged to be a modern & value for money fighter & i read that on a french website.
reg the aircraft carriers, well india plans to hv a bluewater navy & hence needs them.
we are a peaceful nation & even you have mentioned that we do not have any world enemies.
our main concern is defence & we have neighbours who may not hare the same peaceful intent we possess, therefore we have to spend money on defence.
pls note that india was always known for it rich heritage & history. it is the home to so many diverse religions, cultures, races, etc,,,, but they all co-exist peacefully. india is today a booming economy & i am confident that in the coming years we should be able to raise the standard of living of majority of the population.

Hindustan (HAL)
Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)
Light Multi-Role Fighter

India began pursuing the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project in 1983 seeking a lightweight, low-cost replacement for its aging fleet of MiG-21 fighters. Under the overall direction of India's Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the prime contractor Hindustan was given responsibility for most LCA design and fabrication work. HAL is also responsible for integrating the efforts of several government laboratories, educational institutes, and sub-contractors.
The resulting delta wing design features many advanced modern technologies, including a digital fly-by-wire control system, integrated avionics, extensive use of composite materials, and glass cockpit displays. Other sophisticated features include the aircraft's multi-mode radar, laser designator pod and FLIR system, ring laser gyro inertial navigation system, comprehensive electronic warfare suite, and jam-resistant communications sytems.

Unfortunately, the LCA program has run into several delays that have extended the development effort by at least a decade. The LCA first ran into trouble as the design was being finalized in 1990 when a government commission found several deficiencies in critical technology areas. These findings resulted in the decision to build two technolgy demonstrator aircraft to insure that these issues could be resolved. The first of these aircraft was rolled out in 1995, but difficulties with the flight control system and manufacturing of composite structural components kept the plane grounded.

Another major setback occurred in 1998 when India's nuclear tests prompted the US to place sanctions on the sale of General Electric F404 turbofans. These sanctions also ended Lockheed Martin's assistance in development of the flight control system. India decided to proceed in spite of these problems and invest in a domestically-developed jet engine to replace the F404 on production aircraft. This decision incurred additional penalties since many delays and cost overruns have been encountered while developing the new Kaveri engine.

Nevertheless, the first LCA technology demonstrator finally took to the air in 2001. Six additional prototypes were due to follow by 2003. Production and delivery plans remain uncertain, but it is believed that the LCA should begin to enter service by about 2010.

Last modified 14 November 2004

First Flight 4 January 2001
Service Entry

planned for 2005 to 2010

CREW: 1 pilot


$21 million

Wing Root unknown
Wing Tip


Length 43.27 ft (13.20 m)
Wingspan 26.88 ft (8.20 m)
Height 14.42 ft (4.40 m)
Wing Area 412.6 ft2 (38.4 m2)
Canard Area

not applicable

Empty 12,125 lb (5,500 kg)
Typical Load 18,740 lb (8,500 kg) [clean]
Max Takeoff 27,560 lb (12,500 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: 795 gal (3,000 L)
external: 1,055 gal (4,000 L)
Max Payload

8,820 lb (4,000 kg)

Powerplant (prototype) one General Electric F404-F2J3 turbofan
(production) one GTRE GTX-35VS Kaveri turbofan
Thrust (F404) 18,100 lb (80.50 kN)
(GTX) 20,200 lb (89.86 kN)

Max Level Speed at altitude: 1,195 mph (1,920 km/h) at 36,000 ft (11,000 m), Mach 1.8
at sea level: unknown
Initial Climb Rate unknown
Service Ceiling 50,000 ft (15,250 m)
Range 460 nm (850 km)
g-Limits +9 / -3.5

Gun one 23-mm GSh-23 twin-barrel cannon (220 rds)
Stations seven external hardpoints
Air-to-Air Missile medium- and short-range AAM
Air-to-Surface Missile up to two conventional cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles
Bomb laser-guided bombs, conventional bombs
Other rocket pods

LCA-TD-1 First technology demonstrator equipped with a General Electric F404 turbofan
LCA-TD-2 Second technology demonstrator
LCA-PV-1 thru PV-4 Single-seat prototype vehicles that should be at or very close to production form, equipped with in-flight refueling capability
LCA-PV-5 Two-seat trainer prototype vehicle
LCA Production model for the Indian Air Force
Trainer Two-seat trainer model
Navy model A navalized version with strengthened landing gear and a redesigned forward fuselage has been proposed for use aboard a future Indian aircraft carrier
MCA Planned Medium Combat Aircraft derived from the LCA, supposed to possess greater stealth characteristics and thrust-vectoring capability


not yet in service



The last I read is that the first, Prototype Vehicle PV-1, joined the program in 2003. The second demonstrator (TD-2) made its maiden flight on 6 June 2002. So only two of the six (if your source is correct abou the number) made 2003. The fourth LCA, PV-2, was completed in 2005 and was scheduled to first fly in June 2005. Not sure if it did? Anyone has an update regarding PV-2 and any new prototypes?

Ah, I just found out, that it just completed its first test flight:


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