Indian Navy Wants To Launch Twin Seat Fighters From Its Aircraft Carriers: US Media

At 10:02 A.M. over the Arabian Sea on January 11, 2020, Commodore Jaideep Maolankar extended the arrestor hook on his delta-wing Tejas single-engine jet fighter and powered towards INS Vikramaditya, a former Soviet aircraft carrier refitted at great expense and commissioned into Indian Navy service in 2013.

The thirteen-ton jet’s reinforced landing gear absorbed the shock as it hit the flight deck, and its arrestor hook snagged the first of three wire cables.

The cable stretched forward, arresting the Tejas’s momentum and then yanked back the first domestically-built Indian aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier. You can see pictures and a recording of the moment here.

The following day, the same jet performed its first launch off the Vikramaditya’s curved “ski jump” ramp. The Tejas Naval-Light Combat Aircraft prototype piloted by Maolankar was developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organization and the company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

But don’t expect to see the Tejas Mark I enter service with the Indian Navy. After Tejas undergoing three decades of development, the Indian Navy rejected it in 2016, finding its performance mediocre due to its F404 turbofan engine lacking adequate thrust to propel the light jet off the deck of a carrier with a full fuel and weapon load.

Here’s where things get complicated. Despite its own misgivings, the Indian Air Force did order 123 land-based Tejas Mark I jets and is looking forward to a major avionics upgrade variant, the Mark 1A.

HAL wanted to next develop a more powerful Tejas Mark 2 Medium Weight Fighter with F414 turbofans, boosting thrust by 20 percent. The hope was that the resulting performance improvement would rope in interest from both Navy and Air Force.

But in November 2019, Indian Navy made clear any single-engine fighter simply wouldn’t be satisfactory. The service wants a more powerful twin-engine fighter that can still make it back to the carrier even after losing an engine. This notional aircraft is designated the Twin Engine Deck-Based Fighter (TE-DBF), and would eventually replace the forty-four twin-engine MiG-29Ks currently in Indian Navy service.

TE-DFB would be separate from the current competition to procure an additional fifty-seven new carrier-based fighters, likely either Boeing Super Hornets or Dassault Rafale-Ms. India will also commission its first domestically built aircraft carrier, the ski-jump deck INS Vikrant, around 2022, and plans to begin the construction of a new flat-deck carrier with electromagnetic catapults.





Source:- National Interest

Image Copyrights:-KUNTAL BISWAS

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