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Philippines in talks with HAL for a customised Naval variant of LCA Tejas Mk1A with additional features

Source : IgMp Bureau

Philippines in talks with HAL for a customised Naval variant of LCA Tejas Mk1A with additional features
Naval LCA Tejas (File Photo)

The Philippine Aerospace Development Corp (PADC) and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) are in discussions to enhance the maritime defense capabilities of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) by developing a custom version of the LCA Tejas Mk1A aircraft. This collaboration highlights the increasing significance of naval aviation in protecting territorial waters and addressing security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

Adapting the LCA Tejas Mk1A for Naval Strike Missions

The LCA Tejas Mk1A, known for its versatility as a multi-role fighter aircraft, is being considered for adaptation to the naval strike mission. This customization aims to meet the operational needs of the Philippine Air Force in countering maritime threats. While the Indian Air Force (IAF) currently has no immediate plans for the LCA Tejas Mk1A in naval operations, the potential for maritime missions is being explored through cooperation between PADC and HAL.

Enhancing Maritime Strike Capabilities

A key enhancement under consideration is the integration of the Naval Anti-Ship Missile–Medium Range (NASM–MR), developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), into the LCA Tejas Mk1A’s arsenal. This missile system will significantly improve the aircraft’s maritime strike capabilities, allowing for precise targeting of naval assets and enhancing maritime domain awareness.

Bolstering Versatility with BrahMos-NG ALCM

Additionally, DRDO’s plans to integrate the BrahMos-NG Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) will further enhance the LCA Tejas Mk1A’s versatility as a naval asset. The BrahMos-NG ALCM’s capability for land attacks and anti-ship operations provides the Philippines with a potent deterrent against potential maritime threats, including those from the Chinese Navy in the South China Sea.

Tejas nuevo misil
An LCA Tejas Mockup with BrahMos-NG ALCM (File Photo)

Customization for Maritime Environment

HAL’s proposed customization of the LCA Tejas Mk1A for naval operations includes optimization for the maritime environment. This involves enhancements to the radar system to improve the detection and tracking of sea-based targets. These modifications ensure that the aircraft is well-suited for maritime warfare, including anti-surface and anti-ship operations.

Strengthening Maritime Defense Capabilities

The decision to explore the LCA Tejas Mk1A for naval roles comes as the Philippines faces increasing assertiveness from regional powers in the South China Sea. The limitations of existing platforms, such as the South Korean FA-50PH Light Attack Aircraft, highlight the need for more capable maritime assets to safeguard Philippine interests and territorial integrity.

Conclusion: Enhancing Regional Stability

By leveraging India’s aerospace industry’s technological expertise and operational experience, the Philippines aims to strengthen its maritime defense capabilities. The collaboration between PADC and HAL represents a strategic partnership aimed at enhancing regional stability and promoting collective security in the Indo-Pacific region.

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