New Delhi: In what could be a boost to maritime strength, he Ministry of Defence is likely to clear a budget of over Rs 14,000 crore for the development of four prototypes of the twin-engine deck-based fighters for the Navy. The design has been completed by Aeronautical Development Agency under the Department of Defence Research and Development.
This design will be used by the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to produce the prototypes. The Navy has projected a requirement of about 60 aircraft. These naval fighters will be deployed on the recently-inducted INS Vikrant aircraft carrier. Sources said once the budget for the development of the prototypes is cleared, an order will be given to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for the development of the prototypes.
The single-engine naval TEJAS developed earlier was not found suitable as its thrust-to-weight ratio was not enough for take-off with a full load from an aircraft carrier. With this push for Make in India by going in for indigenously developed fighter aircraft, the government is unlikely to place the order to purchase Rafael marine fighter aircraft anytime soon. Talks for purchasing these aircraft have been going on for some time.