Indian Air force to procure 180 Tejas MK2 fighter jet, first flight in 2024

Tejas MK2
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The Indian air force is seeking to equip 10 squadrons with the Tejas Mk 2 medium-weight fighter. First flight in 2024.

On August 31, the LCA Mark 2 multirole fighter jet development programme was given the green light by India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This aircraft is a more capable and powerful version of the indigenous LCA Tejas fighter plane. In December of last year, the comprehensive design review (CDR) was approved.

The decision was made more than a month after V.R. Chaudhari, the chief of the Indian Air Force, announced in July that the military would be receiving six squadrons of Tejas Mark 2 Light Combat Aircraft. Additionally, he said that once manufacturing started, the IAF would decide on an extra number of these aircraft.

And it appears that the Indian air force keeps its commitment. The chief of the Indian air force recently announced that 180 Tejas MK2 aircraft, or 10 squadrons, will be purchased.

According to sources Tejas Mk2 components would be 85% indigenous compared to s 62% in Tejas MK1A.

 The government has approved roughly 10,000 crores or $1.4 billion for the project. The LCA Mk-2 aircraft is expected to make its first flight in two years, setting the stage for its production and completion by 2027.

The approval for the Mk2 coincides with India’s quest to find buyers for its LCA Tejas. The indigenously developed aircraft has emerged as a top contender for the Malaysian fighter jet contract. In addition, the Argentine Air Force has also shown interest in the Indian fighter.

The LCA Mk1 is already in service, and the Indian Air Force will receive 83 of the more powerful LCA-Mk1A aircraft it bought in February 2021 by the end of this decade. The first three aircraft are expected to be delivered by 2024, followed by 16 per year for the next five years.

Tejas MK2 timeline

  • First prototype roll-out – First quarter of 2023
  • First flight – First quarter of 2024
  • Development completion – 2027
  • Production launch – 2028-30

Tejas MK1A timeline

Deliveries to start from 2024. First year most probably 8 aircrafts.
Second year 12-16 aircrafts.
Subsequent years 16 aircrafts per annum.
As per this, the order for 73 MK1A will get finished by December 2028 or March 2029.

About Tejas mk2

The HAL Tejas Mark 2, or Medium Weight Fighter (MWF), is an Indian single-engine, canard delta wing, multirole combat aircraft designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). It is a further development of the HAL Tejas, with an elongated airframe, close coupled canards, new sensors, and a more powerful engine.

The fighter is being designed and developed to replace multiple strike fighters of IAF viz, the SEPECAT Jaguar, Dassault Mirage 2000, and Mikoyan MiG-29.

The avionics of Tejas Mark 2 will be centered on multisensor data fusion incorporating both active and passive sensors on board. The Tejas Mark 2 would be equipped with a variant of Uttam AESA Radar. The Tejas Mark 2 will have indigenous software-defined radio-based tactical data link for secured communication and network-centric warfare capabilities supported by the IAF’s AFNet digital information grid.

The Tejas Mark 2 will have a night vision goggles-compatible glass cockpit dominated by a touch-sensitive wide area display placed in panoramic orientation and a wide-angle holographic head-up display system.

Tejas MK2 will be equipped with a 5th generation GE F414 INS6 engine. The GE F414 INS6 engine has a maximum thrust output of 98 kN and also offers improved specific fuel consumption over the F404 IN20 engine selected to power both Mark 1 and Mark 1A variants of Tejas.

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