Bangalore: IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal P V
Naik on Monday said the indigenously manufactured Light Combat
Aircraft (LCA) would be an advanced version of the MiG 21
fighters, which have been the mainstay of the force and are on
their way to be phased out in the near future.
"Considering the technologies involved, it (LCA Mk II)
will be a MiG 21 + + aircraft and it will render yeoman
service to the IAF," he said when asked about his assessment
of the aircraft.
The IAF chief was talking to reporters on the sidelines
of a function to grant Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) to
the LCA here.
The Russian-origin MiG 21s started being inducted into
the IAF in the 1960s and despite their old technology,
continue to be in operation till date and are expected to be
phased out by the IAF in the near future.
The DRDO is developing a more capable version of the LCA
called the Mk II, which is expected to be ready by the end of
Asked if the present version of the aircraft could be
called a fourth generation aircraft, as DRDO was claiming it
to be, the IAF chief said with future developments, it could
become one but was not so at the moment.
Explaining the parameters on which he called the LCA Mk
II as MiG 21 + + aircraft, he said, "This means first in
endurance, second in performance, third in load carrying,
fourth is the number of weapons it can deliver. Fifth is the
weight with which it can navigate with and the vintage of the
aircraft or avionics and sixth is radar."
Asked to compare the aircraft with its contemporaries,
Naik said it would be just short of Swedish Gripen NG single
On the role to be played by the LCAs in the IAF, he said
an air force requires high, medium and low end aircraft to
perform its tasks and the indigenous fighter would be used to
fill in the gaps at the "medium and low" level.
IAF has placed orders for 40 LCAs in IOC mode and is
expected to procure another 160 LCA Mk II later in the decade.