Thursday, March 11, 2010

Indian Light Combat Aircraft Lagging

Aerospace Daily and Defense Report
March 11, 2010

NEW DELHI — The prototype of the naval variant of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) being built for India’s aircraft carrier has lagged behind schedule due to various development requirements, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said in parliament March 10.
Antony said deficiencies had been detected in the airframe and other associated equipment of the aircraft. The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is working out strategies with various organizations for rectifying these deficiencies through suitable modifications to the engine/airframe design, he added.
In 1984, the government formed the Aeronautical Development Agency under DRDO to develop the LCA in conjunction with government defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. The engine is being developed by the Gas and Turbine Research Establishment.
Answering another query regarding a MiG-21 crash in West Bengal on Feb. 19, Antony said in the past six months six fighter aircraft and one helicopter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) had crashed. Preliminary causes of the accidents were found to be human error and technical defects.
Various measures to reduce aircraft accidents, including operational risk management, crew resource management and improvised training on aviation safety have been implemented to generate a safer flying culture. Visits to all flying bases by senior IAF aviation safety functionaries have been undertaken to apprise and caution operating units about the causes of accidents. A continuous and multifaceted effort is always under way to enhance and upgrade flight safety,Antony said. Constant interaction with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), both indigenous and foreign, is also maintained to overcome the technical defects of aircraft. In addition, anti-birdstrike measures are also undertaken, he said.
- Neelam Mathews (

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