July 08, 2010
EADS Military Aircraft Systems is in talks with India’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) to offer technology support for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) that originally was developed for the abandoned Mako trainer.
A $20 million contract between EADS and India for consultancy on flight trials of the LCA is also set to be finalized by the end of the year.
ADA is responsible for the design, monitoring and development of the LCA project. The consultancy contract to EADS will fast-track flight testing toward Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) and Final Operational Clearance (FOC). The scope of work includes Flight Envelope Expansion, High Angle of Attack flight testing and aero-data validation,external stores carriage and release and flight tests.
The Mako High Energy Advanced Trainer (HEAT) project was abandoned because it was felt there was no room for an additional trainer in Europe, with Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi M-346 aircraft and South Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle aircraft already in the fray.
Mako shares some commonality with India’s LCA. “The technology of Mako can be brought to India to develop over time a trainer — first for India and then for export,” a government official says.
Opportunities for Indian design engineers to get expertise and influence design targets are plentiful. “Mako technologies that range from modern materials like carbon fiber to flight control computing could be channelized,” the official adds.
Mako was being offered with optional and alternative radar systems, including the BAE Systems Bluehawk, Thales RD-400 or the AN/APG-67 multi-mode radar. The fuselage
was made of aluminum, with mainly carbon fiber air intakes and tail unit.
Meanwhile, the EADS Innovation Works India effort launched last year is part of a strategy by EADS to build up research capabilities in the country. “We would like to build our own resources in India, [either] alone or with potential Indian partners,” says Bernhard Gerwert, EADS head of Military Air Systems.
- Neelam Mathews