IAF approves Tejas Mark 2 design with more powerful engine and larger payload

03 Jan 2022


The Indian Air Force (IAF) has accepted the comprehensive design review (CDR) of the LCA Mark 2 (Tejas)., paving the way for state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to start releasing drawings for the first prototype of Tejas MK-2, reports quoted Col (retired) Ajai Shukla, a prominent military analyst and columnist, as saying.

On 15 November, the IAF signed a comprehensive design review (CDR) of the Tejas Mark 2, clearing the construction of a new prototype of the LCA for construction and testing. A CDR is a critical step in designing and developing a fighter aircraft.
With the design and capability review the Tejas is evolving from a light fighter to a bigger and more powerful medium fighter that could be a clear notch above its possible adversaries in South Asia.
IAF has already placed order for 123 Tejas fighters (six squadrons) and foreign air forces are evaluating India’s homegrown light combat aircraft (LCA) for acquisition.
The Indian government launched the LCA programme in 1983 with the purpose of developing a new light combat aircraft to replace the IAF’s aging fighters, particularly the MiG-21. But the Tejas LCA took its maiden flight only in 2001. It took another 14 years for the homegrown fighter jet to enter service.  
The Tejas Mark 2, a 4.5-generation flying machine, has achieved 70 per cent indigenisation, against 62 per cent of Mark IA, and has more advanced technology, in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The Tejas Mk-2 will be equipped with canards and will be capable of carrying a payload of 6,500 kg. This is about double the payload capacity of the LCA Tejas of 3,500 kg. 
It will be guided by the Uttam AESA radar, a ‘Made in India’ product. This indigenous radar is thought to be advanced enough to give it an advantage over Israeli-made radars currently installed on previous Tejas models.
The Uttam radar is also said to be capable of detecting and neutralising hostile electronic warfare (EW) attempts. A more powerful General Electric F414 INS6 engine will be installed in the Tejas Mark 2.
An onboard oxygen generating system (OBOGS) is the aircraft’s most interesting feature. This self-sustainable oxygen generation technology has been used by DRDO for IAF pilots flying the LCA Tejas. This technology is used in fighter jet cockpits to compensate for the rapid decrease in oxygen levels at high altitudes, The EurAsian Times reported previously.
The Tejas Mk-2 will be equipped with the weapons like the Scalp, Crystal Maze, and Spice-2000. A high-definition touchscreen with a 50cmx20cm large area display is another feature to be added to Mk-2. This will enable data fusion and intelligent information display.
HAL and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have addressed 12 of the 25 existing concerns with the Mark 1 fighter plane. HAL is now working to integrate the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) onto the Mark 1A jet, according to Sukhla. Another improvement for the Mark 1A jet is redesigning the cockpit floor to allow pilots to fly the plane comfortably.

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