Indian Air Force is looking for a more powerful engine for the LCA
India is hunting for a more powerful, modern engine for its indigenous fighter, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, which is under development in Bangalore, even as the Indian Air Force is thinking of doubling its order for aircraft from 20 to 40.
Dependable sources said the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the lead agency for developing Tejas, has appointed an “empowered committee” to consider inducting a new, more powerful engine. Eurojet, which makes the engines for Eurofighter, and GE, which has supplied the existing GE-F404 engines, are among the companies that the government is talking to. Tejas is expected to replace the MIG-21
fleet of the IAF.
The IAF expressed its reservations about the thrust of the existing GE-F404 engines, after the weight of the plane went up from 8,000 kg to10,000 kg. The weight increase and other factors had contributed to the trial flight performances not coming up to IAF`s expectations.
This has forced the government to look at a more powerful engine. In fact, the effort to get a better engine for LCA has been going on with several twists and turns. The indigenous engine Kaveri, originally meant to power the aircraft, is not fully developed yet. The GE-404`s deliveries were severely affected by sanctions imposed after the 1998 nuclear tests, contributing to the overall delay of LCA`s development.