The HAL Tejas Mk2, or Medium Weight Fighter (MWF), is an Indian single-engine, multirole fighter aircraft being developed by the Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The fighter is being designed and developed to replace multiple strike fighters of the Indian Air Force such as the SEPECAT Jaguar, Dassault Mirage 2000, and Mikoyan MiG-29.
The Tejas Mk2 will feature advanced avionics systems such as an AESA radar, electronic warfare suite, and a glass cockpit with a wide area display. It will also be equipped with air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground weapons, precision guided munitions, and laser guided bombs.
The development of Tejas Mk2, or MWF, was initiated to address all the shortcomings in Tejas Mark 1 and Mark 1A and to meet the original air staff requirements set out for the LCA programme by the Indian Air Force (IAF). The project is being overseen by Dr. V. Madhusudana Rao, who is the Project Director of Tejas Mark 2. The development of Tejas Mark 2 was authorised in November 2009 as a continuation of LCA programme, under the phase 3 of full-scale engineering development (FSED) process.
The Tejas Mk2 is an advanced fighter jet, it features a tail-less compound delta-wing configuration with a single vertical stabilizer and close-coupled canards to provide static instability and high manoeuvrability, as well as fly-by-wire systems to control instability.
To reduce its radar cross section, the airframe design incorporates radar absorbent material coating and composites making up its skin and twisted air-intake ducts. Additionally, it will have an infra-red search and track (IRST) system and a missile approach warning system.
The Tejas Mark 2 also has several other improvements over its predecessor, such as an indigenous integrated life-support system onboard oxygen generation system (ILSS-OBOGS), aircraft health and usage monitoring system from Defence Institute of Advanced Technology, built in integrated electro-optic electronic warfare suite, larger air intake for GE’s F414 INS6 engine, increased payload capacity to 6500 kg and internal fuel capacity to over 3400 kg.
Sensors and Avionics
Avionics and sensors are essential components of modern combat aircrafts, and the Tejas Mark 2 is no exception. The avionics system of the Tejas Mark 2 will be centered on multisensor data fusion, incorporating both active and passive sensors on board. This includes a variant of Uttam AESA Radar developed by Electronics and Radar Development Establishment, as well as an integrated IRST system for passive target acquisition.
Additionally, the aircraft will be equipped with an indigenous software-defined radio-based tactical data link for secured communication and network-centric warfare capabilities supported by the Indian Air Force’s AFNet digital information grid.
The use of these advanced avionics and sensors will enable the Tejas Mark 2 to detect targets at greater distances than ever before, while also providing enhanced situational awareness in air combat scenarios.
Furthermore, the integration of these systems into a single platform allows for more efficient data processing and analysis, allowing pilots to make better decisions faster in high-pressure situations. With its cutting-edge avionics and sensor suite, the Tejas Mark 2 is sure to be one of the most formidable fighters in India’s arsenal.
The Mk2 is powered by the General Electric GE-414 engine, which produces 98kN thrust compared to 84kN thrust of the GE-404 engine that powers the LCA Mk1 and MK1A. The IAF currently has one squadron in Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration and one squadron in Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configuration. All IOC standard aircraft have already been inducted while induction of FOC standard aircraft is nearing completion.
Speed and Range
The Tejas Mk2 will have a maximum speed of 2,385 km/h or Mach 1.8 and it will have an operating range of 2,500 km (1,600 mi) and combat range of 1,500 km (930 mi).
Tejas Mk2 Test Flight
The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk2 variant is set to roll out by the end of December next year, as part of India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative. This aircraft is expected to replace the ageing fleets of MiG-29, Mirage-2000 and Jaguars in the Indian Air Force (IAF). The research and development agency DRDO has set a target for the first flight to take off by December 2024 and by 2027 at least four prototypes are expected to be built. The IAF Chief had earlier explained in detail the phasing out of some fleets after the completion of their operational cycle by 2035.
The cost of fighter jet development will take Rs. 6000 crores in addition to ₹2,500 crore sanctioned previously through internal funding and per unit cost of Tejas Mk2 is expected to be around 42 Million USD
In conclusion, Tejas Mk2 is set to revolutionize India’s air power by providing a much-needed boost in terms of capability and performance. The Mark 2 will be equipped with more powerful engines, improved avionics, and better weapons systems than its predecessor and will be capable to deal with any potential adversary.