India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is reportedly in discussion with Swedish aerospace firm Saab for a potential collaboration on the upgraded version of the indigenously developed Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA).
Developed by a consortium of five organisations formed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) under the DRDO, along with HAL, the LCA is set to replace the existing aging MiG 21 and MiG 23 aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Senior defence sources were quoted by Press Trust of India (PTI) as saying: "India needs about 300 aircraft of the LCA type. Saab's Gripen is a good fighter jet and hence exploratory talks are on to see if they can be a technical collaborator for the upgraded Tejas."
The latest move comes in the wake of the Indian Defence Ministry deciding on the deadline for making the first upgraded Tejas aircraft to be 2018.
The upgraded aircraft is expected to receive 40 modifications.
Powered by GE F404-GE-IN20 turbofan engine, the Tejas LCA features eight external hardpoints to carry stores, with three under each wing and a tailless compound delta platform.
The aircraft avionics suite includes quadruplex digital automatic flight control and can be armed with air-to-air, air-to-ground and anti-ship missiles, precision-guided munitions, rockets and bombs.
Weighing around 5450kg, the LAC has a maximum speed of 2,205km/h, maximum altitude of 15,200m, take-off weight of 13,500kg and a range of 3,000km.
HAL is expected to deliver the fourth Tejas aircraft to the IAF by June.
Image:The upgraded light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas is expected to receive 40 modifications. Photo: courtesy of Rinju9 via Wikipedia.