SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK
Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has been given go head by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to start work on New Twin Engined Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) jet as per latest media reports and as per information provided to idrw.org, Senior officials from both Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy (IN) were present at the meeting and both have agreed to commit 150 jets jointly before the MOD agreed to give Go head clearance for the New ADA project.
While actual numbers of a jet produced might vary since the jet in question is at least 10 years away from entering production. MOD needed a number before another fighter jet program could have got a clearance and as per information provided to idrw.org, the Navy has agreed to procure a minimum of 100 jets for its Carrier-based operations and IAF is willing to commit to procuring 50 jets if the jet meets its Operational requirements.
Navy and ADA will head the TEDBF program and most of the orders will come from the Navy, while IAF will be back seat driver in the program. Navy has decided that it now abandon its plans to acquire 57 new carrier-based fighter jets from foreign vendors and instead will buy TEDBF when it’s ready for production from 2030 onwards. IN also plans to replace its current Mig-29k fleet with TEDBF from 2035-40 onwards.
IAF version of TEDBF called Omni Role Combat Aircraft (ORCA), will be the same aircraft minus TEDBF’s landing gears, Tailhook, foldable wings some Navy instruments, and electronics. ORCA will also be lighter by 1.5tonnes due to lighter mid and rear fuselage section but there won’t be any major design changes in IAF’s version but it will be identical in terms of design, features, and performance if the project gets a go-head by IAF. The development of ORCA might not be done parallelly but only once TEDBF Prototype is available for testing and evaluation purposes for IAF.
IAF has given fully backing Tejas Mk2 and AMCA program and already has committed to procure 100 aircraft types each. Initially, IAF had agreed to procure 200 Tejas Mk2 jet but later curtailed it to 100 jets, which many see was possibly done to make room for ORCA in near future But people close to idrw.org believe that ultimately it will come down to Operational capabilities and cost at the end since both Tejas Mk2 and ORCA will have same avionics, Radar, electronics and engines, it will depend on which of the two will emerge as better aircraft at the end because Tejas Mk2 won’t enter production till 2028 and TEDBF will be ready in 2026, IAF will be a good position to decide on procurement of ORCA by then or continue procurement of Tejas Mk2 beyond 100 jets which already has been committed.
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