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AeroIndia 2009: After Tejas, medium combat aircraft on DRDO anvil news
14 February 2009

After the success of its light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has unveiled plans to develop a medium combat aircraft (MCA) with 'stealth' features as well as an unmanned combat aircraft vehicle (UCAV). 

The Aeronautics Development Agency (ADA), a constituent laboratory of the DRDO, which developed the LCA along with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, will develop the MCA along with the Indian Air Force.

"We feel confident that after the LCA it will be the MCA, followed by the UCAV," M Natarajan, DRDO chief and scientific adviser to the defence minister, told reporters at the seventh edition of the international air show AeroIndia 2009 at the Yelahanka Air Force Base near Bangalore.

The twin engine MCA will be in the 19-20 tonnes class.

"It is possible to have an MCA with a twin engine, with less weight and improved electronics. It will also have an inbuilt weapon load for stealth reasons. It is doable and it is a challenge," said Natarajan.

The DRDO is also planning a twin-seat trainer variant of the LCA, which for the first time performed manoeuvres at the air show. "We will have an air force LCA, naval LCA and LCA twin-seat trainer. Five to ten years down the line, the role of the (LCA) trainers will be superior to that of the Hawks [advanced jet trainers acquired from Britain]," Natarajan added.

The IAF has placed an order for 20 Tejas lightweight multi-role planes and may increase the number to 40.

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AeroIndia 2009: After Tejas, medium combat aircraft on DRDO anvil