With the IAF no longer interested in the development of the Mk2, the Indian Navy will undertake a process to determine if they should continue with the development of the model on their own.
The IAF has lowered the bar for HAL and ADA and given up on the prospect of an LCA Mk2 by agreeing to accept the existing LCA in large numbers but HAL still has to deliver the first aircraft from the earlier order.
The post-MMRCA narrative unfolding since April is one in which the Modi government has quietly reached out to at least three foreign OEMs to invite interest in building fighter aircraft in India.
With force numbers declining and options like the LCA and the FGFA seem to be falling short, why did successive air chiefs advocate a there-is-no-alternative approach to a non-compliant MMRCA bid?
Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar: ‘A replacement (for the MiG-21) could be the LCA Tejas or another – I’ll not call it low end – but a single engine lighter aircraft. Tejas is a good aircraft but it has its limitations.’
After spending USD 30 billion on the FGFA and USD 20 billion on the MMRCA, the Indian Air Force will be left with a serious shortfall of at least 14 squadrons in 2032, going by the ‘best-case scenario’.
Saab’s Lars-Olof Lindgren says his company has been quietly working on a plan to build the Gripen in India and has already done a lot of the homework for it.