India is likely to float a tender for the acquisition of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) for its new fleet of 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk 1A in the coming weeks.
An expression of interest for a new set of AESA for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk 1A is set to be floated shortly, with top global aviation firms expected to participate. The government had recently cleared an order for 83 of the LCA Mk 1A jets, Economic Times reported quoting unnamed sources as saying Tuesday.
Global manufacturers that include Israeli Elta, US Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, Swedish Saab, French Thales and Russian KRET could be interested in the tender.
Israeli Elta is working with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) to develop AESA radar for the new Tejas, “Standard of Preparation – 2018” (SoP-18) after the India Air Force and Tejas’ designers agreed in September last year. Earlier, Tejas was equipped with Elta’s EL/M-2032 radar which is a manually mechanically steered radar.
In 2012, Elta offered to equip the Jaguar fleet with its new ELM-2052 AESA radar in 2012 so as to upgrade the 61 aircraft to DARIN-3. Upgrading them so as to continue in service for another 15-20 years. These will be the first set of AESA radar equipped aircraft for India.
The India Mirage fleet currently employs mechanically steered radar and there is a probability of equipping them with AESA eventually.
Raytheon, which supplies AESA radar known as Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) and test flown on the F-16 and F/A-18 may also respond to the tender.
Northrop Grumman which competed with Raytheon for USAF’s F-35 program and South Korean F-16 fighter program with Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) can also be a competitor for the tender.
Saab has offered to co-develop its Gallium Nitride AESA radar technology with India if India selects its Gripen fighter aircraft for the Single Engine Fighter Jet Program. Lockheed Martin has proposed to use Raytheon’s AESA radars if India selects Block 70 F-16 fighter for the program.
Thales supports French Dassault Rafale fighter jet’s with RBE2-AA AESA radar system.
The competition would be the largest international contract for AESA radars that are the heart of modern combat jets. These new radars give much more range and engagement potential to fighters, enabling them to engage targets from a distance without getting detected. AESA radars can track and direct weapons to multiple air and ground targets simultaneously, ET reported.