Why LCA Tejas should be the Best Choice of IAF in Warfare?
Tejas is a light 4++ generation war plane. It is designed to intercept and engage hostile jet and to perform combat air patrol,Surveillance,close air support, hitting enemy positions with precision guided ammunition in some cases as a deep penetration strike fighter.
A multi role aircraft like Tejas can perform various types of role in war with a combat radius of 500 km.
The 500 km combat radius includes 3 tons of weapom load and maintaining a height of 30,000 ft(the more altitude it gain its combat radius or fuel efficiency will increase subsequently or vice versa).
The Tejas Mk.1A – is designed to correct many of the existing shortcomings in the FOC standard aircraft. Planned to be equipped with an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and electronic warfare systems currently missing from the FOC standard Tejas Mk.1
The Tejas MK2 is an Major improvement over LCA Airforce Mk1 with higher thrust engine. This aircraft will have improved survivability, maintainability and obsolescence mitigation. Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Unified Electronic warfare Suite (UEWS) and On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS) are some of the state of the art technologies planned to be integrated. The cockpit design has been improved with bigger size, smart Multi function Displays (MFD) and smart Head Up Display (HUD).
LCA Tejas Mk2 will come with longer combat radius.
LCA Tejas are primarily tasked with interception, CAP and air defense roles, which means they will take off, engage the enemy, complete their mission and return quickly. Other times they will patrol assigned areas.
The IAF’s operational plans earlier had strike aircraft like Jaguars or MiG-27s attacking ground targets, while air defence fighters like the MiG-29 covered them from enemy aircraft. Now mission-specific aircraft are giving way to multi-role fighters, which can do both jobs. This doctrinal shift stemmed from the Mirage-2000, the IAF’s first multi-role fighter, which was inducted in the mid-1980s. The Mirage-2000 inspired the Tejas in both role and design.
Today, the IAF controls the aerial battle from airborne early warning and command (AEW&C) aircraft like the Phalcon, a giant radar mounted on a transport aircraft. Flying over the battle space and scanning 400 kilometres on all sides, the AEW&C identifies enemy aircraft and, over a secure datalink, allocates fighters from nearby bases to tackle the intruders. The AEW&C also orders up fighters to strike ground targets in the land battle.
“Tejas light fighters, located at forward airbases like Pathankot, Ambala, Sirsa or Jodhpur are ideal for missions in the vicinity of the border. They are close at hand and react quickly. Being far cheaper, they can be bought and used in larger numbers, saturating the enemy’s radar picture and complicating his decision-making,” says a senior former IAF planner.
“With an AEW&C guiding the Tejas directly to the target, it does not need a long operating range; and its combination of Elta-2032 radar and air-to-air missiles, are lethal against most contemporary fighters.”
Employing the Tejas for the tactical battle would allow the IAF’s heavy, multi-role fighters like the Su-30MKI and Rafale to be focused on targets deep inside enemy territory, which are beyond the range of the Tejas – such as major air bases, military headquarters and strategic infrastructure. These fighters, which carry far more fuel and weapons, can take off from bases deep inside India, bomb targets deep inside enemy territory, and also shoot down enemy fighters.
Yet, heavy fighters have their downsides. Maintenance is complex, with half the Su-30MKI fleet usually unavailable for operations. Enemy radar picks up the heavy fighters more easily; the Tejas is smaller, and also stealthier, being largely fabricated from composite materials. Moreover, the loss of a Sukhoi-30 is a Rs 400 crore blow; a Tejas will probably costs one-third of that.
Many IAF planners advocate a balanced air force, with a mix of light and heavy fighters. Light fighters like the Tejas would respond to the tactical battle, while heavier fighters, with their longer range and greater strike power, could tackle more strategic targets.
Tejas role as a interceptor:
In an Air to Air configuration Tejas can carry two R-73 and four Derby-ER missile along with a drop tank.With the help of quadruplex digital fly by wire and helmet mounted sight It will perform very well in within visual range engagement. With a Multi mode radar and Derby ER missile with a range of 100 km it has the capability to take out any hostile aircraft in beyond visual range engagement. Mark1A version will incorporate an AESA radar so in BVR combat its efficiency will increase.
Tejas armed with Derby- ER and R-73 missile.
Combat air patrol:
During a conflict Tejas will carry out sorties to defend air bases from enemy raids. In an Air to Air configuration it will carry two R-73, two Derby-ER missile and two 800 litre drop tanks and it will achieve a endurance of 1 hour 24 minutes without any in flight refueling.
Surveillance : Tejas armed with AN/AAQ-28(V) Litening targeting pod will be able to monitor ground targets or enemy movement. It can also be used as a secondary armed reconnaissance fighter. The litening pod included a forward looking high resolution infra red camera
LITENING significantly increases the combat effectiveness of the aircraft during day, night and under-the-weather conditions in the attack of ground and air targets with a variety of standoff weapons (i.e., laser-guided bombs, conventional bombs and GPS-guided weapons).
LITENING is an integrated targeting pod that mounts externally to the aircraft. The targeting pod contains a high-resolution, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor that displays an infrared image of the target to the aircrew; it has a wide field of view search capability and a narrow field of view acquisition/targeting capability of battlefield-sized targets.
Tejas armed with GBU-16 Paveway II
Tejas will hit its target with pin point accuracy with laser guided bomb. Air force will deploy it to destroy well fortified enemy bunkers and hostile artilary positions.
Tejas role in Hitting enemy positions: Apart from laser guided bomb Tejas can also carry 500kg gravity boms.
Tejas armed with four 500kg FAB-500M bomb
In a bombing configuration Tejas will carry four 500kg bomb, two R-73 missile, one targeting pod and one drop tank. It can be operated from forward landing bases of western sector or eastern sector to hit hostile infrastructure, ammunition depot or airfield.
Its advance cockpit will allow it to hit targets with precision.
Tejas role as a deep penetration strike fighter :
Tejas armed with two R-73 missile, two 500Kg bomb,Litening targetting pod and two drop tanks.
In a strike configuration Tejas will carry two R-73 missile, three high explosive 500kg bombs, litening pod and two drop tanks for deep penetration strike.Its superior multi mode radar will allow it to engage ground and air targets simultaneously.Tejas will also have a Inflight refueling probe which will increase its combat radius to nearly 800+ km.
Through buddy refueling process it can stay in the air for longer period of time.
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