Source : Indian Defence Analysis
|An artistic CGI of Indian Navy Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) by Satwik Sadhukhan|
The Indian Navy has been working alongside with ADA to indigenously develop a deck based fighter aircraft which can operate from its aircraft carriers. Even though Navy has withdrew formally from LCA program it continues to work with ADA on the development of Naval LCA as most of its technology will be used in TEDBF aircraft. Indian Navy has set Naval Project Office at Bengaluru, which was initially coordinating the LCA (N) project is now monitoring TEDBF progress.
The initial porotypes of Naval LCA : NP-1 & NP-2 are air force fighter jets converted into Naval variant. However, NP5 is being designed specially for Navy. While LCA (navy) is only a technology demonstrator but it showcases that India has developed niche technologies specific to deck-based fighter operations, and it will pave the way to develop and manufacture the TEDBF.
The off-nominal landing trials to be conducted using NP5 and analysis of various stress point will be crucial for the development of landing gears for TEDBF. Some of the distinguishing features of Naval LCA is robust landing gear and arrestor hook which is used during landing.
While ADA has mastered these two technologies of deck based fighter, the another technology was foldable wings which is new and not present in Naval LCA.
During Aero India 2023, Girish S Deodhare, director general, Aeronautical Development Agency has told that the wing folding design mechanism of TEDBF has been finalised. During Aero India show we have also observed significant changes in TEDBF design & specifications.
TEDBF Design Changes observed
One of the major observations from Aero India 2023 has been change in the design of TEDBF. The earlier design of TEDBF has showcased, the unfolded wingspan of 11.2m and folded wingspan of 7.6m. As per the new specifications, the unfolded wingspan of 11.6m and folded wingspan of 8.3m. The overall wingspan has been increased by 0.4m. The new wing area of the TEDBF is going to be 53.5 sq.m.
Earlier the length of aircraft has reported to be 16.3m which has been increased to 17m in the new specifications. As per new design the height of the aircraft is going to be 5.65m.
While there has been change in the overall dimension and the new design shows that the TEDBF will be a bigger aircraft, its Maximum Take-off weight is going to be same i.e., 26Tons with external stores of 7.5 tons where it can carry weapons and drop tanks. The aircraft will have 12 hard points.
Another change observed in the specification was related to its flight altitude. The earlier specification showed the aircraft to have the altitude of 60,000 ft but the new specification states it to be 55,000 ft.
The new design seems to be much more refined design of TEDBF incorporating the features of AMCA & Rafale. Some visible changes are also noticeable in the nose cone and DSI intake which looks much better.
Other details on TEDBF
Besides, the change in specifications, few more details where shared about the TEDBF fighter jet. The aircraft will have network centric capability along with multi sensor data fusion integrated with advanced sensors like AESA Radar, IRST, Unified EW suite, and MAWS.
ADA and Indian Navy chief, both are confident that TEDBF prototype will rollout by 2026 and fighter jet will be ready to enter into production by 2031-32. A proposal for TEDBF prototype development likely to be taken up by the Cabinet Committee on Security soon, with the navy’s requirement expected to around 100 aircraft.