HomeDefence NewsTejas Mk2 to carry 8 BVR Missiles; Will outshine Global competitors

Tejas Mk2 to carry 8 BVR Missiles; Will outshine Global competitors

Source : The Indian Express

LCA Tejas Mk2 to carry 8 BVR Missiles; Will outshine Global competitors
An artistic CGI of Tejas Mk-2 MWF by Kuntal Biswas

New Delhi: Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk2 is not only capable of carrying eight Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) missiles together but can also integrate all native weapons, as well as a variety of advanced weapons from other countries, a senior official from the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which comes under the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), has said.

“No other single-engine aircraft of this class in the world can carry eight BVR missiles simultaneously. These unique features will make it stand out among aircraft manufactured by global firms, upping its export potential,” V Madhusudana Rao, the LCA Mk2 project director, told The Indian Express on the sidelines of Aero India 2023, the country’s biggest aviation exhibition that ended on February 17, in Bengaluru.

Stating that “the future is BVR combat and we are ready for that”, the official said the aircraft will be integrated with heavy standoff weapons, such as SCALP, an air-to-ground, long-range deep strike missile. “We considered the integration of advanced French and Russian weapons, weapons from other Western countries and indigenous weapons like ASTRA [a BVR air-to-air missile] while designing this aircraft [LCA Mk 2]. Unlike other aircraft, LCA Mk2 will be able to integrate unique weapons from various countries,” he explained.

He said the LCA Mk2 has seen a quantum jump in technology from LCA Tejas Mk1, including improved range. “The mission endurance for fighting a war was 57 minutes for LCA Tejas Mk1, but it is 120 minutes for LCA Tejas Mk2. The Mk2 will have 11 hardpoints [a weapon station on the airframe designed to carry external load]. LCA Mk2 will have a weapon carrying capacity of 6.5 tonnes,” he said. The General Electric GE-414 engine will power the LCA Mk2.

The senior official’s statement comes at a time when Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the public sector aircraft manufacturing company, is in talks with several countries, including Malaysia, Argentina, Egypt and Botswana, to sell LCA Tejas Mk-1A.

HAL chairperson and managing director C B Ananthakrishnan had told the media last week that the bid to sell 16 lighter fighter jets to Malaysia had suffered a “slight setback” after the country had shortlisted the Korean KAI FA-50 over the LCA.

Last September, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had sanctioned Rs 9,000 crore to develop the LCA Mk2, a 4.5-generation fighter aircraft.

Stating that the critical design review of the aircraft is ready and the manufacturing initiated, Rao said there has been some delay in the release of government funds. The aircraft should be rolled out by next year, he added.

To fill the gap in the Indian Air Force’s depleting fighter squadrons, LCA Mk2 and the indigenous Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) will be pitched as a replacement for the Jaguars, MiG-29s and Mirage 2000s when they start retiring in a decade.

“Our first priority is to meet the requirement of the [defence] services, after which we will honour requests from foreign countries,” he said, adding that 16 countries have so far shown interest in the fighter jet.

There is a push from the government to increase the aircraft’s production rate and efforts are on to narrow down the list of private production agencies that can help do that.



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