Light Combat Helicopters
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopter deployed for operations in Leh.
- These are part of 15 Limited Series Production helicopters approved for Army and IAF.
- It will see a greater collaboration between state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and private firms as part of ‘Make in India’.
- Of these 83 aircraft, HAL will deliver 73 Tejas Mk 1A and 10 Tejas Mk 1 trainers by 2026.
- Tejas will only be the second indigenously built fighter aircraft in India’s history.
- 1983 was the first time when the Government of India cleared a project to build a new Light Combat Aircraft as a replacement for MiG 21s.
- India’s project to build the engine ‘Kaveri’ for a Light Combat Aircraft failed.
- Tejas is 50 per cent indigenous. It has a GE American engine, an Israeli Elta radar, and British aerospace, avionics, and other engines.
India’s misadventures with fighter aircraft
- India has also had a chequered history with fighter aircraft in general.
- By the mid-1950s, as India’s relationship with Pakistan was tanking, Nehru sought advanced technologies to fight the Pakistanis.
- India employed a German aeronautical engineer who built the HAL HF-24 Marut, an indigenously built fighter-bomber aircraft.
- Marut was supposed to be of supersonic speed but could never surpass the speed of sound. This is largely because of the ‘technology denial’ Nobody would sell India a decent engine.
- India then started fitting two Orpheus engines into one Marut. Therefore, the aircraft had two subsonic engines and always remained underpowered.
- As many as 147 Maruts were produced and they played an essential ground support role in the 1971 war with Pakistan.
- By 1975, however, this programme was suspended, and the Maruts were sold for scraps.