The Indian government is working to indigenously develop fifth-generation fighter aircraft to enhance the capabilities of its defence forces. Chairman of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) stated that India will have the world’s best combat aircraft in the next 10 years.
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However, these claims could find themselves caught amid doubts in the international defence market given the fact that India took more than three decades to develop LCA Tejas and is still dependent on foreign engines.
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The Chairman of Defence Research and Development Organisation – Dr G. Satheesh Reddy stated that the Indian government has given the nod to manufacturing Light Combat Aircraft Mark 2.
Redy further added that India is looking to increase its indigenous content in its aircraft to about 70-75 per cent in the next 10 years. Presently, the indigenous content in defence equipment stands around 45%.
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The official also stated that India’s export of indigenous technology must increase for which academic institutions must contribute. Adding further he stated that today India is more than capable of developing any RADAR, SONAR and Electronic Warfare Systems.
How the LCA Tejas Project Almost Failed
While India is talking about developing the best fighters in the next 10 years, the reality is that India took more than 35 years to develop LCA Tejas.
The Tejas might have been always talked about as being an indigenous aircraft but around 25% components of the aircraft are imported and here it must be mentioned that these components are among the most crucial ones for an aircraft.
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The Indian government has spent more than 2000 crores on the development of Kaveri engines which were to be used for LCA Tejas. The project for the development of Kaveri engines started back in 1989 and since then India has only struggled for more than 30 years to get the desired results.
Kaveri engine could not provide the required thrust for LCA Tejas and India had to eventually use American engines for the aircraft. Given the mammoth delay in the development of LCA Tejas, India’s claims to develop the best fighter jet in one-decade looks challenging.