|An Artistic CGI by Kuntal Biswas|Production Schedule of TEJAS MK-2 is out. The planned production will begin in 2026 reports Twitter handle Alpha Defense. The production rate will be more than 20 aircraft a year and full swing production will start ramping down by 2030 leaving space for futuristic fighters. This data is based on production schedule released by HAL Therefore, the first TEJAS MK-2 deliveries to Indian Air Force should start by 2027. The TEJAS MK-2 is a Medium Weight Fighter (MWF) aircraft to be powered by GE F414 engines, a fully modular engine of 95KN thrust. During the engine selection for TEJAS MK-2 program, GE has proposed ToT of around 60 per cent in a phased manner for manufacturing GE 414 engines in India. However, ToT proposals have business and strategic intent and generally technologically / commercially critical parts are restricted by the OEM (original equipment manufacturers). Also ToT is generally only for manufacturing technology for the agreed parts in the country. To ensure self-reliance of the country in the critical engine technology, we need to develop capability for design and development of higher thrust engines which is currently available only with a select few companies in the world. As a step towards engine capability development HAL is working on two aero engine programs currently, which will be suitable for small business jets and ALH class helicopters respectively. However, considering the development costs, higher risks and very long gestation periods, these aero engine development programs, including higher thrust engine development, needs to be taken up as national programs involving all the stakeholders like HAL, DRDO labs, academia etc said R Madhavan in a recent interview. There are some activities towards this direction, even though some concrete steps are yet to firm up. Considering the upcoming programs like Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF), Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), Indian Multirole Helicopter (IMRH) etc. there is definitely a huge market for these class of engines. The contract with GE Aviation is for procurement of 99 fully finished engines along with engine support packages. Additionally, module change workshops and engine test beds will be established at Air Force bases by HAL. HAL has indicated its readiness to set up the MRO facility. However, the contract does not envisage setting up an MRO facility in India. It is understood that IAF is in discussion with GE Aviation for establishing a D-Level maintenance facility.
When can we expect the first prototype? After the roll-out it takes about a year’s time for it to go for taxi trials. And then, from there onwards the testing and certification happens. So hopefully, by 2026 all the testings’ will be completed and the production activity will be started from then onwards.
How Many Squadrons of MK-2 Are Planned?
The advanced version of the country-made fighter aircraft TEJAS will soon increase the strength of the Air Force. Air Chief Marshal VR Choudhary said that six squadrons of TEJAS MK-2, an advanced version of the Air Force Light variant of Combat Aircraft (LCA), will be built. The Air Force has decided to buy 108 planes necessary for them. The IAF has already placed orders for four squadrons of TEJAS MK-1A. The TEJAS MK-2 fighter is not only more powerful than the existing MK-1, but the attacking systems in it are also highly advanced. After the production of TEJAS MK-2 starts, the Air Force will place orders for this fighter in large numbers. The TEJAS MK-2 fighter aircraft will replace the Mirage-2000 and Jaguar fighters after a decade. After this, there are plans to induct at least seven squadrons of the fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) into the Air Force.