Source : Hindustan Times
ADA to roll out Tejas Mark 2 prototype with F-414 engine by 2024 end
On the eve of the historic India-US F-414 jet engine deal, both Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have geared up to produce Tejas Mark II fighter by 2027-28 with the former ready to roll out the GE-414 powered prototype by 2024 end. The GE-414 engine, which will be manufactured in India under 100 per cent transfer of technology (TOT) after approval from US Congress, will power not only Tejas Mark II but twin-engine advanced multi-role combat aircraft (AMCA-I) and twin-engine deck-based fighter (TEDBF).
Given that India has plans to produce at least six squadrons of Mark II fighters for the Indian Air Force after 83 F-404-powered Tejas Mark I A have been produced and handed over to the military. With eight F-414 jet engines already procured by the ADA, design frozen, and critical design review already approved by the IAF, the agency will roll out the Mark II prototype by 2024 end for testing and operational clearance.
As PM Narendra Modi and his national security team have been able to deliver on F-414 engine through the “Make in India” route, the HAL has girded up for the upcoming challenge as the PSU will focus only on manufacturing the GE engine as no less than 500 aircraft engines have to be produced in India. It is understood that the HAL Bengaluru division and even the Nashik division may be tasked to take up the job and start production in collaboration with the GE. HAL already has experience in manufacturing aircraft engines as it was assembling AL31 FP after burning turbofan engines for the Russian SU-30 MKI assembly in India.
According to experts, HAL will fully focus on the production of Mark II fighter as well as the GE-414 engine after the production line of Mark I A tapers off.
The American defence major General Electric and HAL will sign an MoU for the manufacture of the F-414 engine on July 22 and exchange instruments before Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden in Washington.
While the ADA under the DRDO is confident that it will deliver on Mark II on time, pressure will now be on HAL to energize the workers of PSU to meet the challenge ahead. Even as the engine will have to be produced by GE-HAL, the government may think of a special-purpose vehicle to produce Mark II fighters to meet the deadlines of the IAF. ADA to roll out Tejas Mark 2 prototype with F-414 engine by 2024 end ADA to roll out Tejas Mark 2 prototype with F-414 engine by 2024 end ADA to roll out Tejas Mark 2 prototype with F-414 engine by 2024 end ADA to roll out Tejas Mark 2 prototype with F-414 engine by 2024 end IgMp