Indian Navy requires 100 Nos. of Deck Based Fighters

The Indian Navy requires around 100 Nos. of deck based fighters which will be developed under the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) programme.

The TEDBF is being designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), and will be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

These will eventually replace the Mikoyan MiG-29K onboard the INS Vikramaditya and the INS Vikrant.

Currently, the programme is in the preliminary design stage, but is expected to be taken forward soon by the Ministry of Defence, India.

Also, as of now the wing folding design mechanism (to ensure the plane takes minimum space on an aircraft carrier) has been finalised.

The first flight is expected to be in 2026, with production planned for 2031.

Further, once developed then HAL is expected to manufacture the new fighter at the rate of eight aircraft per year.

To be noted, the TEDBF programme was officially announced in 2020, in response to the Indian Navy’s discontent in operating a single-engine carrier-based fighter based on the HAL Tejas, and then its subsequent withdrawal from the naval LCA programme in 2016.

Besides, this ongoing programme, IN is also looking at importing new deck-based twin-engine fighters as an interim measure to meet its requirements before the indigenous TEDBF is ready.

Worth mentioning, due to the TEDBF project, the Indian Navy reduced their orders for foreign fighters from 57 aircraft to 26, including trainer variants.

As of now, the French Rafale M fighter edged out the American F/A-18 Super Hornet in a direct competition and has emerged as the front runner in equipping the IN with 26 new deck-based fighters for INS Vikrant aircraft carrier.

The Rafale is manufactured by Dassault Aviation while the Super Hornet is being produced by Boeing.

The TEDBF is intended to perform a multitude of missions, including air supremacy, air interdiction, anti-access/area denial (A2/AD), anti-ship warfare (ASW) and electronic warfare (EW) missions.