Israeli knowhow for LCA radar
Ravi Sharma x1,
Concern over delay in developing Multi Mode Radar WA
Combat aircraft’s weapons integration delayed ?
ADA seeks aid to fine tune flight control laws tI
Bangalore: Under pressure from the Indian Air Force and also having realised that any further procrastination would cause even more delay to the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has decided to go in for a technical collaboration with an Israeli company for a Multi Mode Radar (MMR).
The advanced pulse Doppler MMR is the primary mission sensor (eyes and ears in layman’s terms) of a multi role combat aircraft such as the LCA in its air defence role. An indigenous MMR has been under joint development by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) Hyderabad division and the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) for over 10 years. However, the radar was experiencing cost overruns and time delays since 2002.
The lack of an MMR has delayed the combat aircraft’s weapons integration programme contributing to the ADA now realistically pegging the LCA’s Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) only for 2010 and Final Operational Clearance for 2011-12, “if all goes well.” With no MMR, the ADA was left to conduct weaponisation tests with a weapon delivery pod that left many critical tests on hold.
According to P.S. Subramanyam, Programme Director of the LCA programme, the ADA will start getting MMR units from Elta Systems Limited (a subsidiary of the Israel Aerospace Industries) within three to four months. “Co-developing a radar with Elta’s help is an immediate solution. But we have not given up on developing our own MMR,” he said.
Mr. Subramanyam said the IAF’s first LCA squadron (20 aircrafts), would be equipped with the co-developed Elta MMR.
According to HAL’s Managing Director, Bangalore Complex, A.K. Saxena the fifth or sixth limited series production LSP aircraft could be integrated with the new radar. With the LSP1 flying last April, the LSP4 could fly a little over a year from now.
The ADA has also decided to seek assistance to fine tune the LCA’s flight control laws. Though the ADA has had consultations with a number of aviation majors with regard to the LCA’s flight tests, it has till now refused to go in for any collaboration in design consultancy. But the ADA has sent out requests for proposals to Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Saab, RAC-MiG, BAE Systems, Sukhoi Company (JSC) and the European Aeronautics Defence and Space Company. The last date for the companies to submit their proposals is June 30.
Mr. Subramanyam said collaboration on the LCA’s flight control laws would mean a time reduction.
“We have been very conservative in our flight testing. This collaboration will result in a 15 to 20 per cent reduction in effort.” The collaboration, it is hoped, will hasten the test programme. While the LCA has so far clocked around 370 hours of flying, it is still some distance from the 700 hours required before IOC can be achieved.
With the indigenous Kaveri engine not to be ready till at least 2014, the LCA will shortly get a more powerful power plant. HAL has started integrating the first of the General Electric manufactured GE 404 IN20 engines. The LSP2 will be the first to be powered with the new engine.
由印度斯坦航空有限公司（HAL）和印度电子研究开发院（LRDE）负责开发的LCA多功能雷达的研发已经超过10年，并且在2002年就已超出预定的研发预算，而令人失望的是到现在他们还没能开发出符合军防要求的产品；印度航空发展局（ADA）认为LCA项目受到缺乏合格雷达的拖延实在太久，并且直接导致了飞控软件系统的开发，可能使LCA在2010年才能获取初级飞行证书(Initial Operational Clearance ,IOC)而要获取高级飞行证书(Final Operational Clearance，FOC)要等到2011至2012年
[只有获取初级飞行证书，武器化的飞机才能送交印度空军。在获取初级飞行证书之后还需要获取高级飞行证书(Final Operational Clearance，FOC)才能真正投入作战。] “如果顺利的话”印度航空发展局（ADA）在没有合适的多功能雷达的情况下将使用一个武器指引吊舱来作为替代，以完成LCA的武器测试工作；
印度国产的Kaveri发动机在预计2014年才能研制完成，所以短期内LCA将使用GE 404 IN20。