Air force: India offers Fighter Jet Trainer to us

Asia News Agency Editorial Board

Air force: India offers Fighter Jet Trainer to us

In a reversal of roles, Manu Pubby (Senior Editor, ET) reports India has offered the US a fighter jet trainer required by its navy for pilot training on aircraft carriers, marking the first major weapons sales pitch by New Delhi to Washington. The Indian offer is for the Undergraduate Jet Training System (UJTS) for which the USNavy has launched a global search.


ET has learnt that India responded to the official Request for Information (RFI) with a Lead in Fighter Trainer (LIFT) version of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft. The aircraft on offer brings in experience gained by Indian developers from the naval version of the LCA that has successfully demonstrated operations from an aircraft carrier.


While the US is still evaluating the offer, India sent in a detailed project plan, which includes advanced avionics that enable the LIFT LCA to mimic almost all types of fighter jets, from cockpit display layout to control performances.


“We have done all the work in house,” Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) chairperson R Madhavan told ET. “The same platform can be used to mimic any other platform. All that needs to be done is put in the flying characteristics and things will change to the selected aircraft. For example, if they Rafale characteristics, to the pilot it will seem like he is flying Rafale, which will help in the advanced training process.”


The aircraft on offer is based on the LCA Mk 1A that is on order by the Indian Air Force and a demonstrator can be produced if the US Navy goes ahead with the selection process and shortlists it for the next step, which is formal request for proposals (RFP).


While India will be going against a clutch of global manufacturers with a history of developing trainers, developers feel there is an even chance for success as an aircraft of the type does not currently exists. In addition, the LCA is one of the few jets in the world that has a demonstrated capability of operating from an aircraft carrier.