Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba here today said the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is “not up to the mark”, due to which they are searching another fighter aircraft for carrier operations within the next five years.
Lanba said the navy will seek a fighter aircraft from elsewhere, while it is still encouraging India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop the Naval LCA.
“The MiG-29K will operate from the Vikrant (first Indian built aircraft carrier). But we also need an alternate aircraft now. We are looking for it, as the LCA is not up to the mark yet. In the present form, the LCA cannot take off with its full weapon load,” said the Navy chief, adding that within the next five years a new fighter aircraft will be needed for carrier operations.
In another major development, Lanba revealed that a nuclear submarine of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy was deployed and did a port call at Karachi.
“There has been no intrusion by Chinese vessels in Indian territorial waters in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But we have our eyes on them (Chinese Navy),” said Lanba.
Meanwhile, the Navy chief said the force is planning to acquire autonomous sub-surface assets and ship-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
On the Scorpene submarine leak, Lanba said India will setup a joint group with France. “We will see if have to make changes on the platforms. But the leaked data dates to the pre-2010 period. It does not have details on the armament. There is no critical leak,” he said, adding additional submarines are also being looked at.