India-Pakistan: February 17, 2001


Five years after it was rolled out (and 17 years after the program began), India's Light Combat Aircraft made its first flight on 4 Jan. The 18-minute foray "was flawless". India wants at least 200 of these aircraft, but the program has started and stopped so many times that the current design is very much a mish-mash of new and old components. The program has had several setbacks and problems, and its failure to produce a workable aircraft quickly has forced money to be diverted into other programs (refitting MiG-21s and buying new aircraft from Russia), which has starved the LCA program and slowed it even further.--Stephen V Cole


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