Vijay Times(01-05-2006)

Glitches in LCA radar

NIRAD MUDUR

Bangalore: Problems detected in the multi-mode radar(MMR) to be fiited on to the nose cone of the light combat aircraft (LCA) are posing obstacles to the aircraft's crucial weaponisation phase.

The pulse doppler MMR, being developed through a collaboration between the Electronic Radar Development establishment (LRDE) and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Hyderabad, is aimed at detecting, tracking, terrain-mapping and delivering guided beyond visual range weapons through a compatible system that links the radar with the weapon system enabling the pilot to take immediate action on detecting the enemy.

It is designed to simultaneously keep track of a maximum of 10 targets allowing multiple-target engagement and can relay messages in real time for the pilot to take counter measures.

However, scientists working on the radar told Vijay Times the results of the multimode radar while being tested on an Avro HS748M aircraft were "not positive" as the performance of several modes being tested fell short of expectations.

The radar was scheduled to be fitted into the nose cone of the LCA for combat evaluation, making way for LCA's  weaponisation  which would be compatible with the radar.

The radar has air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities and was tested on two ground test rigs in Bangalore and Hyderabad, besides the inflight test on board the Avro.

The real test would be when the radar is  flown on the LCA as the scientists would be  able to analyse its performance when exposed to high gravitational force with the fighter in full flight.   

According to scientists, the glitches in the test phase of the radar may force them to consider similar radars from other countries like the Elta from the Israeli Aircraft Industries or the AN/APG-67 from Lockheed Martin, which the Aeronautics Development Agency, the developer of LCA, evaluated in 1992 and is currently used on US' F-16s.

Which means the radar would follow in the footsteps of the indigenous Kaveri engine for the LCA in which place the GE404 F2J3 engine of the American General Electric is being used till the indigenous engine is ready.