The 75th anniversary of India's independence will witness the unveiling of country's long-awaited Indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas Mark II. The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has been tasked to develop India's latest light combat aircraft, will showcase in 2022, with a heavier stand-off weapon capacity, Hindustan Times reported.
Tejas Mark II will be manufactured by the government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and expected to get into production by 2025-2026.
The design of 17.5 ton Tejas Mark II was finalised by ADA in December 2018 and will calibrate the design of the fifth-generation twin-engine stealth fighter for Indian Air Force (IAF) by the end of the year. Mk II will weigh same as the Mirage, Jaguar, and Grippen but will be powered with a heavier GE 414 engine, ADA officials informed.
The qualitative requirements of the aircraft were finalised in late 2018 with the consultation and approval of IAF. The Mk II which is a 4.5 generation fighter will be produced after Tejas LCA (light combat aircraft) order of 123 aircraft to replace the air force's ageing MiG-21s is completed.
Notably, the project was sanctioned in 2009 by the centre. Mk II will be loaded with advanced AESA radar with the locally developed air-to-air missile Astra, having a range of 70km. The beyond visual range missile is currently under the testing stage on the IAF's Su-30 MKI fighters.
The older version of Mk II, Tejas Mk I has missed several deadlines in the past and keeping this in mind, ADA and IAF are also moving swiftly on developing advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA). The 25-ton fighter.
The aircraft will be powered by twin-engine capable of propelling it at super-cruise speeds. AMCA will have complex S-shaped serpentine intakes that hide the spinning turbine blades in the engine and is a key feature of a stealth fighter. The design was approved as an initial concept in 2014 and it was only last year the IAF gave its approval. The final design of AMCA is expected to be completed by year-end in consultation with the air force. Interestingly, Tejas will be the lightest aircraft among all 4.5 generation planes with a total weight of 11 tonnes.