The Indian Navy may order a small number of the Naval variant of LCA Tejas fighter as a trainer for frontline naval aviators, reported Livefist.
According to the report, the Navy is currently engaged in internal discussions regarding the potential purchase of 12 to 15 Naval Tejas (N-Tejas) from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The Indian Navy had earlier rejected the Tejas naval variant due to performance shortfalls and the Navy had instead asked the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to focus on making a more modern and powerful Twin-Engine Deck Based Fighter Jet.
In the interim, the Indian Navy will use a foreign fighter, for which the Navy has selected French Dassault Rafale-M over the American F-18 Super Hornet Block-III, as part of a contest to buy 26 jets, for use on its newly inducted aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
In February 2023, the Naval Variant of Tejas successfully landed on the deck of INS Vikrant as part of its aviation trials. Back in 2018, the Indian Navy expressed its desire to see the Naval Tejas operate from the INS Vikrant’s deck, but later decided to opt for a foreign-made jet in the short term, while focusing on developing the Twin-Engine Deck Based Fighter for the future.
The use of the Naval Tejas from the INS Vikrant’s deck will allow the aircraft to experience the full range of operational conditions, and will also facilitate the training of fighter pilots who previously had to go overseas for training.
“It would give the Naval Tejas a chance to fully stretch its wings in the real world, with the opportunity to train batches of pilots in STOBAR operations, something they currently do abroad,” an officer said.
An additional benefit of using the Naval Tejas on INS Vikrant’s deck will be the incorporation of users’ critical feedback, which will directly help in the development of the Twin-Engine Deck Based Fighter Jet.