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The LCA will be transformed into a mini single engine Rafale Fighter Jet

“People are stupid for money” has been synonymous with Indian military procurement. One of the most unexpected decisions made by India in the near future was the announcement in February of this year that 114 single-engine fighter jets had been abandoned two years ago. Also in February, India announced that it is considering replacing the LCA fighter with a French phased array radar and an engine. This is a sign that the U.S. warplanes have entered the Indian Air Force with hope that the most bitter is the F-16 fighter. The biggest winner is not France.

The discarding of single-engine fighter bids and the consideration of LCA for radar and engine may be mutual cause and effect. Although the US F16 fighters participating in India’s single fighters’ bid and the Swedish “German Lion” fighters are higher in specifications than the domestically produced LCA fighters, the purpose of both is to replace the current MiG-21 fleet of the Indian Air Force’s antiquated aircraft. , and expand the size of the main fighter. India's single-engine fighter project cannot meet all of its own performance needs and instead rely on its own LCA projects. Developing LCA projects will inevitably squeeze outsourcing fighter resources. What's more, the development of LCA projects seems to be a more promising option for India.

Although the process of India’s purchase of the French “Rafale” was not successful before, it was in fact the procurement of “Rafale” that confirmed India’s determination to develop the LCA fighter. Although the LCA adopts the US-made F404 engine at this stage and plans to use a stronger F414 engine in the future, the LCA originally planned to equip the domestically produced “Kaveri” engine, and France is an important participant in the development of the “Kavery” engine. The specific technical assistance came from the Snecma company, the R&D unit of the legal M88 engine that was replaced by the LCA plan, and the M88 engine was the driving force of the “Rafale” fighter.

Not only that, the India-based Tejas Mark-IA radar that was planned to be replaced by the LCA was actually simplified on the basis of the Rafale RBE2 radar, and France has always been an important foreign aid for the LCA project. Therefore, India is The LCA change-over radar and engine can be regarded as the overall LCA project packaged to France for system development. The LCA will eventually be positioned as a “Single-Engine Rafale” fighter. In the future, it will not only be able to form a high-low match with the “Rafale” fighter, but also The system simplifies the use cost and maintenance pressure of the main fighter. All this, in exchange for the cost of destroying the F16 fighters.

According to a report by India’s Tata Company on March 1, US Boeing Company will set up the only production line of the Apache helicopter gunship in India and provide Indian and international users with “Apache” armed helicopters. During India’s single-engine fighter bid, Loma also promised to set up the only production line of the F16 fighter in India. By then, India will become the only country in the world that can produce F16 fighter jets. However, the United States does not do this without selfless technology transfer. Instead, it will raise the bargaining chips on the one hand, and on the other hand, it will continue the production of the equipment as far as possible.

However, India’s abandoned single-engine fighters’ bidding indicates that the F16 fighters’ production line cannot be moved out of the country and that there is no hope of exporting. This fighter can only stop production. There will no longer be a new F16 fighter aircraft entering the arms sales market. Since then, any country expecting to acquire new F16 fighter planes will need to pay a large additional expenditure for restarting the production line, which has seriously hurt the international competitiveness of the F16 fighter plane. If the F16 fighter leaves the throne of the best-selling single-engine fighter, who is the most likely to pick it up? Although there is not yet one fighter that has sufficient strength to directly connect, in the process of shifting from "one super" to "many," China's Jian-10 fighter will have rare opportunities for development.

Previously subject to the limitations of power, radar, and avionics, J-10 was inferior to F16 in terms of overall performance, so it was unable to compete with F16 in arms sales competition. However, at this time node, F16 competitiveness has been declining. However, with the maturity of “Taihang Jet Engine” and even the turbofan 15 as well as the bulk transfer equipment of domestic active phased-array radars, J10 is gradually competing with F16. ability. More importantly, J-10 is the only medium-sized fighter that is equipped with a single-engine, high-thrust engine in addition to the F16 fighter aircraft in the world. It is even more advantageous than a medium-sized fighter that is equipped with a twin-engine medium-thrust engine.

In view of this, a series of recent Indian military aircraft R&D decisions can be seen as a sign that the legal warplanes successfully defeated the US-made fighter jets in the Indian market. However, the French victory is objectively viewed, providing a rare opportunity for the development of more powerful Chinese fighter jets. . In the future, “Rafale” will compete with the J-10 fighters for arms sales, or will reappear the dilemma of frequent suppression by F16 fighters. (Phoenix Military Phoenix Net Jun Liu Chang)

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